Beating the Social Media Bafflegab

Susan EllsworthI receive newsletters from a wide variety of organizations touting themselves as experts in social media. The ones I generally delete without reading include a title phrase like must read.  Recently, I received one that included in its preview text a suggestion that the organization producing the article completely understood a social media concept that I had never seen before (and have not seen anywhere since.) Furthermore, the teaser text suggested that what they were publishing was part of “best practices.”

Intrigued, I clicked to download the article. There was nothing new I had not seen before. Furthermore, it had been published back in 2009.  Really? Yes, really.

It’s time to look at criteria for credibility in social media.

Does the source cite actual statistical studies of its claims conducted by a completely independent source? Where is the online “Consumer Reports” aggregator of statistical studies reports in social media? A recent Google search for such a service came up pretty dry in that regard. If there actually are statistical studies included, who is the audience for whom the study was written? To put it differently, can you understand what is being said? Or are you looking at a lot of bafflegab intersperced with code words recently invented by (and defined by) the source?

While checking research is a daunting task, you can beat at least some of the bafflegab. There actually are some dictionaries and glossaries of social media terms. Here are some.

A-Z of social media.


Pam Dyer. “Social Media from A to Z: A Glossary”

Socialbrite. Social media glossary 

…and there are others that Google will serve up for you every day of the week. You can beat at least some of the bafflegab. Go for it!

Susan Ellsworth


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Who Really Needs Training? Part 2 of 3

Susan EllsworthThe last blog talked about how Technical Services providers (yes, that’s me) need to speak three different languages: Geek Speak, End-User Speak and CEO Speak. The new End-User Speak is a wonderful blend of newly-learned Geek Speak words and phrases—and its own grammars.

It’s not just that words like gravatar,  favicon,  widget, tagging, geotagging, traffic (as it describes numbers of site visitors) , badge (as an electronic image), widget,  plugins, and tagging (clicking on a picture) have crept into the language.  Use the chat feature in FaceBook, and soon you too will be saying “BFN” rather than “goodbye for now.” Direct a comment to someone in LinkedIn, and chances are good that you will use the famous Twitter “@” symbol.Or even the famous #hashtag.


I can just see my arms-waving Toastmasters friends jumping up and down and yelling “That’s JARGON! They need Toastmasters!” Maybe…maybe not. I think it’s simply an opportunity to learn another language. The good news is that you can learn it simply by hanging with people who use it. Read, listen and soon you too will be using End-User Speak. You might even do what some social networking sites have done: invent your own words. Pingback, for example, was invented by WordPress, and explained to its users in context. Of course, it helps if you understand what a ping is. 

We’ll wrap up this three-part blog with more about CEO Speak.

Twitter for Business          FaceBook    Pequod Systems


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Pequod Systems Posts: the Breast Cancer Series 2

Susan Ellsworth

Thank you, Grant, Aref, Jon, Team Nimble, Sally, Andrew, Judy, Steve,Ruth, Steve, Dottie, Attila, Janice  and the rest of the village it has taken to get me up and going again. My radiology is done. Although I still have leftovers from my last chemo on January 10,  I am beginning to agree with my managing partner and our customers—this is almost over.   My fingers are now getting better re-acquainted with my keyboard.

Two final notes on the subject. First, a number of  “race for the cure” events are in progress. It’s time for more research into the discovery of causes of breast cancer and the prevention of it. Second, a far less-advertised but equally determined effort in that direction is being made by the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation’s Army of Women Program.  Made possible by the Avon Foundation for Women, the AOW had 366,632 volunteers as of 5/21/12.  This Army’s vision is “Breast cancer has been around for decades, but it does not have to be our future. We can be the generation that eliminates breast cancer by identifying what causes this disease and stopping it before it starts.” Volunteers periodically receive brief notices about iniatives focused on  various groups and breast cancer. I am one of those nearly 366, 700 volunteers in that Army, and I invite you to join. Visit and sign up.

I am playing catchup with corporate marketing responsibilities and homework.  It’s rather sad when Twitter sends you a notice about missing you. I have an embarrassingly tall stack of Nimble leads to call. I juggle (let’s face it!) home tasks with followup medical appointments and corporate responsibilities. Thankfully, various friends drop by now and then to help with home tasks.  Blessings on them. Now if our two cats would just learn to clean and change their catbox….

In the meantime, good things have happened. One of our favorite long-time customers, a company that makes affordable and decent housing available in Washington DC has recovered somewhat from the bad economy. We have remained in touch with key staff members during a seriously tough time for them, and they recently came back to us for workstations and service.

Another company we met many years ago and have provided service to off and on for many years has suddenly discovered the importance and value of registering software and keeping track of software licenses. I wrote about this matter so long  ago in the Business Monthly that it has rolled off the archive.  Yet, there are still companies such as this one that have not moved all their applications into the cloud and have not figured out corporately that registrations and licenses for local Microsoft applications are not something to be hung onto by a sometime tech support contractor or by an employee who has no idea why that documentation is important. Bottom line? It’s quite expensive and sometimes next to impossible to upgrade or move a system without this critical data.

On the good news side, Todd Martin from Nimble has written an insightful blog about “The Art of Selling Yourself Online: 5 Ways To Introduce Yourself Through Social Media.”  It’s definitely worth a read, so check it out.

Pequod Systems Posts: the Breast Cancer Series

Thank you for your FaceBook eMail, Garick.

Today’s news is that my last scheduled day of radiology is May 9, 2012.  After that, it will be a matter of a daily pill for the next five years. My radiologist MD says that the further I get away from my chemo experience, the more energy I will get back. We’ll see if I’m up to partying the weekend of May 12-13.

And of course, I will be getting my mammograms regularly and hoping that the breast cancer does not come back. The good news is that I discovered that not every mammogram has to be painful. The one I had at my hospital just prior to my lumpectomy, for example, was a bit uncomfortable but nowhere near as painful as the one I had at the facility my general practitioner had sent me to.  The challenge now is to educate my GP so he will understand that there is no correlation between the amount of pain one feels with a breast smashed between two plates and the quality of the mammogram.

As you know, it has not been easy to travel the road to cure my breast cancer and do what I can to function as the marketing partner of Pequod Systems. Especially with all the great new features and benefits that Nimble has been rolling out at the very time I have mostly not had the energy to talk with prospects intelligently. I mostly have had “chemo brain” as a result of the Taxotere in the chemo brew that I took in November, December and January.  I will have to explain to Richard and Todd that one does not contact a lead when one’s not-so-nimble brain is somewhere south of the border. Believe it or not, there actually are chemo-brain-like  residual effects from the Taxotere that do take time to disappear. I am sure they will understand.

What you don’t know is that I consequently had not paid attention to my workstation. Shortly after I learned that I had breast cancer, my hard drive had very nearly been filled with old files and plain old junk I really did not need. What’s almost worse,  the dust of the ages (not to mention cat fuzz) had penetrated my system and I suspect had been a purveyor of  static. So it was no wonder that every website (and Nimble!) I visited, I not only had the feeling I was slogging through tar, but also that my mouse would regularly stop working. Aargh.  (More about those cats in another note…) As you can imagine, I have been spending significant time moving some useless junk from my hard drive into the ozone, and my workstation has now been re-introduced to a can of air. The upside? I will not be adding more graphics without paying attention to how much disk space I have left.

One other detail…I really have less hair now than my picture shows. As a matter of fact, my managing partner has said I look like I have a military haircut. Yup, that’s the same guy who, in a moment of frustration, said that he was beginning to wonder if breast cancer is “a rite of passage.” He just knows many of the same folks that I do.

In the meantime, thanks for the intro to Google+ Hangouts. FaceBook will have to hustle.




Google’s Rel = Author…where is the Return On Investment?

Susan Ellsworth

For anyone other than a professional webmaster, Google’s current “Rel=Author” implementation in G+ profiles for increasing trustworthy content has a long way to go before those of us in small business will find it easy to implement. And I am wondering exactly where is the return on investment for the time and sweat it now takes to make it work reliably.

Setting up a Google+ account is actually quite straightforward. So is pointing the G+ profile directly to my website and to the URL for this blog. Pointing this blog in the direction of my G+ profile, however, was not so much. The introductory  Matt Cutts/Othar Hansson video on authorship did not match my thee-hour effort to discover the appropriate way to point this blog in the direction of my G+ profile. Google’s online helpdesk documentation specific to WordPress, the Content Management System for this blog, told me why the video had tripped ever so lightly over commenting on its implementation by saying that the implementation is still “in the early days.” Make that “still in Beta.”

At the end of the day, I found myself ponding on two questions. First, where is the return on investment for small business website owners to spend time and effort in this way? If I don’t go through all this effort, will searches on terms on my website suddenly go into the toilet insofar as Google is concerned?

Second, I thought about the matter of trustworthiness as a whole. Frankly, in business dealings, I trust people more than I worry about website rankings. I thought about Jon Ferrera, the Nimble CEO. I have not met him in person, and yet I trust him as a person. Why is that? I have spent time on the phone with him and with his staff. What they say is what they do. My business partner knew him in his early GoldMine days, and I have watched as GoldMine partner after partner has come on board—including some who originally had hooted down the idea of integrating GoldMine with social networking, let alone turning it into a Social Business Platform. Jon has over 20 years of experience in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Sales Force Automation (SFA). An entrepreneur at heart, Jon founded GoldMine CRM in 1989 with a college friend and turned it into a very successful venture that he eventually sold to FrontRange. In 2009, Jon founded Nimble LLC, and by February 2010, we were on board. We’re not looking back any time soon. See us at our Nimble site.
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To Skype and FaceBook Together…or Not

Recently I discovered a solid business reason for using Skype. A company from BanglaDesh and my company are collaborating on a project together, and Skype is a convenient, economical way we can stay in touch. As a FaceBook user, I was fascinated to see on my Skype page an option to “Connect your Facebook account to message your friends from Skype and see their News Feed.” And of course, the “Learn More” link only said “Enjoy the magic of video calls when you and your friends are logged in to Facebook. ”

As a partner in a systems integration company, I love it when apps come together and play nicely with each other. However, just yesterday I had extolled the benefits of LinkNotify. I had proclaimed that LinkNotify is a fast read, that it sends me an eMail three times a week with current links posted by friends and/or organizations I had “LIKED.”  As an example, I pointed out that Nimble had posted a FaceBook link to the the July 6 LA Times piece “Facebook details Skype-powered video calling, group chats” and how I had received a report on July 7 from LinkNotify. I had immediately returned to FaceBook to see a comment about starting a group to enable chatting. Earlier in the day, a friend from the Philippines had posted a link to the FaceBook announcement, so that made me twice as interested. A 10-second scan of the LinkNotify report had just saved me a 30-minute check of links posted by all my FaceBook friends. It all looked like so much FUN!

However, I had also said that I had killed off all my time-wasting FaceBook games and apps. Considering that LinkNotify is a business-oriented app that allows me to skim through the links my FaceBook friends have posted without my being slowed down by the posts about what they’re eating or watching on TV, I asked myself the obvious question:  Would SKYPE also do that for me? Not that I could see. So for now, unless my Nimble buddies can show me a good reason to the contrary, I think I’ll pass on the Skype-FaceBook integration opportunity. 


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Who are your FaceBook Friends?

Writing in All Things D on May 31, Liz Gannes wondered about friending in FaceBook.  Among her worries were that

“One of Facebook’s most fundamental flaws is its notion of friending. Relationships on Facebook don’t naturally expire as they do in the real world. To unfriend is drastic, used only in the direst of circumstances–like a bad breakup.

And the fact that people from so many parts of our lives are on Facebook elicits bland communication. You often don’t really know who you’re talking to, so you stop talking.”

That may be over-stating the case for “”while Facebook might be the hottest game in town, it’s still a pretty warped and inaccurate picture of what it means to have friends. ”

Consider in-person contacts you make, whether pursuing  business contacts or building relationships in small groups of large International organizations.  Or even connecting in interfaith activities. Now consider what attending a large family picnic such as a reunion is like.  In each instance, there will be people you meet and greet as people you have known for a very long time.  In each instance, you will have a different relationship with each person you talk with—or avoid. In each instance, there will be people to whom you say “We have simply got to stop not meeting like this.” And then you keep on not meeting them in person, for one reason or another.  Or there will be people you actually do connect with for a while—and then perhaps ignore until, for one reason or another, they come to your attention again.

It’s not that we  deliberately deceive anyone. It’s that life happens, and without mechanical prompting (such as with a scheduler) we all pay attention to different acquaintances at different times and for different reasons.  With schedulers, we remind ourselves to contact the people who we need to contact.

Her comment that “Relationships on Facebook don’t naturally expire as they do in the real world. To unfriend is drastic, used only in the direst of circumstances–like a bad breakup”  misses a reality.  It is not necessary to unfriend anyone you discover is not really all that interesting for any reason—business or personal. Simply not connecting with them right now gives one the option of re-connecting later on in a friendly way.

Liz, it’s all about our own goals and needs in the big city. The environment is different but the human behaviors are pretty much the same.


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To “Like” Likester or not to “Like” Likester—that is the Question

  Likester—the self-proclaimed global popularity engine—is yet another utility designed to work with FaceBook. Google for reviews of  Likester, and you will find a lot of Likester enthusiasts, including repeated reports of Likester predicting winners of Ameican Idol.

There is a dark side of Likester.

The About_Likester page blithly says “When you sign up with Likester, you contribute your anonymous data (what you like), in exchange for seeing what everyone else likes. What you have “liked” is publicly available information anyway, so you’re not giving up any privacy to play here.” It’s one thing to have “likes” spread around one’s social network. The impact of compiling and reporting those “likes” is dramatically different—and can have consequences the end user never imagined.

I do not like apparent self-contradiction. While the About_Likester page says that “Once you join (without filling out any forms, I might add),”  the Privacy Policy says “At several places on our Website or in connection with our services, we collect certain information you voluntarily provide to us that may contain personally identifiable information. For example, our customer registration page requests your full name, email address, company, and postal address.”

I do not like tracking people who have not explicitly given their permission to a company that does not transparently explain how long they will keep a user’s location(s). Likester has yet to demonstrate a genuine business case for creating a “a heat map that shows you where the Likesters live” other than “We think this is really neat. We’re pretty geeky like that. ” The only people who would buy an attitude like that are under thirteen years old—the ones about whom their own privacy policy says “OtherPage’s services and the Website are not intended for and may not be used by children under the age of 13. ”

Sorry, Likester, but I think I’ll go read Shakespeare’s Hamlet instead.


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Watching 24 x 7 x 365

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The nimble CRM Leadership Revolution: Part II

Susan Ellsworth

The nimble revolution is here. Bye, bye bloat. Hello web-based solution integrated with well-known social networking sites LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and  Gmail. Nimble empowers small businesses in today’s socially connected world to collaborate more efficiently, to listen and engage with their community in order to attract and retain the right customers.

Yes, there are people who are still doubtful about the value of social networking and growing business.  You may be one of them. If you are, here is a resource that talks about how social media monitoring can grow your business. Like me, you may have prererences for a variety of browsers for different purposes.  You may even work on a Mac or on an iPad. I raised the question of compatibility in the nimble LinkedIn group.  Todd Martin, Director of Sales at nimble, responded that “Nimble works on PCs & Macs with either Chrome, IE, Firefox or Safari browsers. We support two versions back on each browser.” Other responses from the beta testing community were also positive in that regard.

Here’s a thought. Since GoldMine founder Jon Ferrara is also the founder of nimble, my bet on the likeliest CRM slated for import to nimble will be GoldMine. That would be the same CRM solution, where in 2009 there were “experts” in the FrontRange community who could not see value in integrating social networking with GoldMine CRM.

Here’s another: a FREE nimble license for up to two users you can get at our Pequod Systems Nimble Partner website .Visit. Click  Contact. Sign up. Yup, it’s that easy.


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Nimble: Love that Revolutionary Leadership!

It’s finally happening!

A hosted fun, friendly Social Customer Relationship Management solution that a small business  can actually afford.  For those who just came into this virtual room, a quick note to explain SCRM. It’s not simply adding FaceBook, LinkedIn or other social networking services to traditional Customer Relationship Management.

In her February 23 blog, Ann All says that

In perhaps the best definition of SCRM I’ve seen yet,  [Bertrand] Duperrin  says SCRM shifts the focus from the “management” aspect of CRM to the “relationship” aspect….As Duperrin writes, it’s “moving from ‘buy my product, it’s the best’ to ‘How can I help you.’” And follow-up gets more emphasis in SCRM, sometimes with a dedicated customer care channel on social media or a “peer care” platform where customers can help each other.

So why am I so excited about the rollout of Nimble Contact? Back on April 11, 2009,   I had reported the results of my advocacy that GoldMine from FrontRange stop ignoring the reality of social networking as it applies to business development. And that FrontRange should begin development along those lines. The result?  Comments from well-known FrontRange GoldMine partner technical “experts” who said things like ” I don’t see how social networking fits into the realm of GoldMine. ” A recent Tweet from FrontRange indicated the company had just joined a LinkedIn cloud computing community.

Fast forward to February 2010. Who contacted us to let us know he had started the Nimble Contact revolution? None other than Jon Ferrara, who also had inspired and led the development of  the original GoldMine customer relationship management product that many small businesses had invested in.  We signed up for the Nimble Contact beta testing and development, and have been following the progress of Nimble Contact for a full year now.  By the time you read this blog, Nimble Contacta software solution for businesses that have chosen applications in the cloudwill have been rolled out.  Here is the demo Ferrera gave today.

Usually, you see the picture of the watchful eye at the end of my blogs. Today, I am happy to say that we are partnering with Nimble, and you will now see the Nimble logo not only here but also on our Nimble Partner Website and on our Pequod Systems website as well.

Welcome, Nimble Contact !


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