Twitter tips: 10.5 things you’re still doing wrong on social media

Twitter fail

Oops? Some so-called “experts” are still doing social media wrong, so review these Twitter tips to help.

1. Asking questions that you can get answers to elsewhere
I don’t mind if you post a photo of a new hat and ask people if they think it’s a good look for you, but please stop asking questions when you can get the answer elsewhere. “Hey what time is the game on?” “What channel is that show?” “How do you cook grilled cheese?” Use Google, a TV Guide or a calculator and look up answers yourself.

2. Tweeting without context or explanation
“Oh my god.” “What just happened.” “No way.” “I hate this so much.” The worst posts are the short little reactions to something that your followers have NO IDEA what you’re talking about. You may imagine everyone hanging on your every word so they realize that 75 minutes ago you were tweeting about the football game so they should assume you’re still talking about it, but NO ONE FOLLOWS JUST ONE PERSON. (Except @KanyeWest.) As a result, most people see your thoughts in a mix of posts about news, sports, work, music, personal life, food, etc. — so I have no idea if you’re angry about not getting enough ketchup on your burger or that your best friend forgot your birthday or your favorite character kissed the one you hate on a cable TV show. We’re not literally “following” your every move, so don’t assume we are. Add a hashtag or some other clue to what you’re talking about.

3. Tweeting with a . in front of @ mentions — every time
A good number of Twitter users probably don’t realize that if a tweet starts with an @ mention (i.e. “@MileyCyrus I love you!”) then the only ones who’ll see it are users who follow both you and the account you’re mentioning (and, of course, the account you’re mentioning). It brilliantly keeps conversations from cluttering Twitter feeds, but some have figured out that any reply/mention can be made visible to all followers by putting a period or other punctuation in front of the tweet (i.e. “.@MileyCyrus I want everyone to know I love you”). Use it sparingly — never for out-of-context tweets or conversations your followers aren’t part of (i.e. “.@MileyCyrus Your last tweet was great”).

4. Flooding feeds with Twitter chats or live-tweets
Twitter considers 45 tweets an hour to be spam and some people get dangerously close to it during chats or live-tweeting sports, which is understandable if they’re passionate about the topic. But for the sake of followers who aren’t interested, please do two things: 1) Warn people of the impending flood (“Hey I’m about to join a #xyzchat at noon”) or be ready to apologize after. We’ll always forgive it if you don’t act entitled, like we should hang on your every word. And 2) Minimize annoyance by tweeting unique thoughts with context and avoid unnecessary notes (“Next chat Q coming up in a moment”? Just ask the question).

5. Tweeting about trending topics just because they’re trending
Often trending topics are related to news — so don’t ask “why is Snooki trending?” just click on it and you’ll get your answer. Other times, trends are from what’s on TV or a popular user who started it. Don’t respond like the trending topics are talking to you (i.e. “OMG Mean Girls is trending, that reminds me of that time Sheila was mean to me”). Do feel free to join trending hashtag conversations, but don’t hijack them to promote your crap (i.e. “Check out my new photo! [link] #yolo #imsosickof #twitterconfessions #starwars”).

Facebook Thumbs Down

Facebook posts that automatically post to Twitter? Thumbs down!


6. Facebook posts that feed to Twitter, Twitlonger, etc.
It’s not quantum physics: Twitter has a 140 character limit. If you go over 140, whether through Twitlonger or another service that feeds to Twitter, then people have to click to see what else you said — it’s annoying. Also, keep in mind that if you feed Facebook to Twitter and you post a link on Facebook, your Twitter followers have to click the link to see the Facebook post before they can click the link you want them to — twice the clicks.

7. Inconsistent voice
Dear “community managers” and “brand ambassadors”: If the account represents a business with more than one person, the voice is always “we,” never “I.” Opinions should not be given, unless it’s about the brand (“We think our new thing is amazing!”) or a strong affiliate (“Pepsi thinks BeyoncĂ© is going to rock #SB47!”). And hashtags should be consistent — stick to one tag for the brand and its customers to follow.

7.5. Accidentally posting personal tweets on professional accounts
To err is human, so sometimes you’ll “accidentally” post on the wrong Twitter account. If that happens, delete the tweet, apologize and move on — do not spend the rest of the day/week addressing or explaining the error and, most importantly, do not chastise followers upset by your mistake. It’s your mistake.

8. Hyperbole
How many concerts have you been to that are truly “epic”? Is this really “the worst” restaurant experience you’ve ever had? Opinions make things more interesting on social media (and in real life), so we want to know what movies you liked or hated but curb your enthusiasm when referring to extremes. I expect a 4-year-old to have a new “favorite” toy three times a day, but when you tweet “that was my favorite episode ever of all time” three times a week we assume you’re the least discerning person. Of all time.

9. When breaking news becomes “the telephone game”
Rumors quickly became fact on social media, and false news can spread because you’re tweeting based on what someone tweeted based on what someone else tweeted, etc. Being correct is more important than being first, so check sources and post updates based on credible information.

10. Calling yourself a “guru,” “ninja” or “master”
Adage found that, as of January 2013, more than 181,000 Twitter bios describe themselves as social media gurus, masters, ninjas or mavens. Stop it. How can you master something that’s barely a decade old and is constantly evolving?

Turn It Up 2012: My top 10 songs, albums of the year (and then some)

For some, 2012 was the year “Twilight” ended but the world didn’t. For me, it was another chance to discover great music from surprising sources — when I was obsessed with ’90s big beat like The Chemical Brothers, who would’ve guessed that 15 years later I’d become a fan of alt country (Drive-By Truckers! Tift Merritt!) or folk rock (Brandi Carlile!) or Swedish indie pop (Jens Lekman! First Aid Kit!)?? My tastes have changed, evolved, and broadened over the years — perhaps even more so now that I don’t work in radio and my hunger for finding great new artists is just as strong as ever. I love reading year-end music lists, and then comparing them to my own. Below are my favorite songs, albums (and then some) of 2012. Tune in and turn it up, kids!

BEST SONGS OF 2012
10. R. Kelly – “Fool For You”
9. Missy Higgins – “If I’m Honest”
8. The Shins – “Simple Song”
7. Elle Varner – “So Fly”
6. Shearwater – “You As You Were”
5. The Coup – “Magic Clap”
4. Frank Ocean – “Bad Religion”
3. Regina Spektor – “Don’t Leave Me (Ne Me Quitte Pas)”
2. Blackberry Smoke – “Everybody Knows She’s Mine”
1. Jason Mraz – “I Won’t Give Up”

BEST POP/ETC. SONGS OF 2012
10. Usher – “Climax” (Flosstradamus and Diplo Remix)
9. Nas – “Reach Out” f/ Mary J. Blige
8. Little Mix – “Wings”
7. Rita Ora – “How We Do (Party)”
6. will.i.am – “Scream and Shout” f/ Britney Spears
5. Ellie Goulding – “Anything Could Happen”
4. fun. – “Some Nights”
3. Gotye – “Somebody That I Used To Know” f/ Kimbra
2. One Direction – “What Makes You Beautiful”
1. Carly Rae Jepsen – “Call Me Maybe”

SONGS I LOVED AND WAS OBSESSED WITH FOR TWO WEEKS
10. Lana Del Rey vs. Notorious B.I.G. – “Notorious Origin”
9. Adele – “Skyfall”
8. Kid Koala – “3 Bit Blues” <— blues meets hip-hop turntablism
7. Jackson 5 – "If The Shoe Don't Fit"
6. The Rolling Stones – "Doom and Gloom"
5. Chiddy Bang – "Ray Charles"
4. Rye Rye – "Never Will Be Mine" f/ Robyn
3. Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros – "Mayla"
2. Carolina Chocolate Drops – "You Be Illin'" <— Run DMC cover for Record Store Day
1. Masters in France – "Playing With My Friends"

2012’s BEST ALBUMS
*Honorable mentions: Alabama Shakes, Mumford & Sons, The Avett Brothers, Plan B, Bettye LaVette, The Little Willies, Jason Mraz, Fatboy Slim
10. Joss Stone – The Soul Sessions Vol. 2
9. Green Day – Uno!, Dos!, !Tre! <— yes, that's three albums
8. Jens Lekman – I Know What Love Isn’t
7. Melanie Fiona – The MF Life
6. Grace Potter – The Lion The Beast The Beat
5. The Gaslight Anthem – Handwritten
4. Brandi Carlile – Bear Creek
3. Frank Ocean – Channel Orange
2. Solange – True (EP)
1. K’Naan – Country, God or the Girl <— guests incl. Bono, Keith Richards, will.i.am, Mark Foster, Nas, Nelly Furtado

BEST SHOWS I SAW LIVE IN 2012
5. Arrested Development / Sophistafunk
4. ‘Here Lies Love’ (musical written by David Byrne and Fatboy Slim)
3. Yellow Dubmarine
2. LL Cool J / DJ Z-Trip
1. DJ Shadow

THE YEAR’S BIGGEST MUSIC DISAPPOINTMENTS
5. Re: Generation (collaborations like Skrillex with The Doors, Pretty Lights with Ralph Stanley & LeAnn Rimes? Good, fun concept but bad sounds.)
4. The Avalanches (still no new album yet! Again!)
3. Dubstep (the genre’s already starting to sound played out)
2. The Civil Wars (everyone just discovered how awesome they are, and they broke up)
1. The Ting Tings (their second album bombed… what happened to all those fun hand claps??!?)

What were your favorite songs/albums/etc of the year? Leave a comment below! I love listening to and discovering great new music!

2012’s Best Halloween costumes: ‘Say Anything,’ Ludacris, ‘Back to the Future,’ leg lamp and more

Here’s my take on the best Halloween costumes of 2012, from celebrities dressed as other famous characters to ordinary people with really clever outfits. Enjoy!

Lloyd Dobler from ‘Say Anything…’ [link]

'Say Anything' Halloween costume

‘Say Anything’ Halloween costume by Nikki S, featuring her baby as the boombox John Cusack holds over his head.

‘Back to the Future’: Baby Marty McFly [link]

‘Back to the Future’: Baby Marty McFly in a flying Delorean


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Watch: Geoff ‘DeafGeoff’ Herbert speaks at TEDxBuffalo about being a deaf DJ

Geoff 'DeafGeoff' Herbert talks at TEDxBuffalo on Oct. 9, 2012

Geoff ‘DeafGeoff’ Herbert talks at TEDxBuffalo on Oct. 9, 2012 about being a deaf DJ and the importance of listening over hearing.

I was humbled and honored to be invited to speak at TEDxBuffalo, my first TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) event, about being a deaf DJ and the challenges I’ve faced in my life growing up mostly deaf. The event was held Tuesday, October 9, at Canisius College in Buffalo to an invite-only crowd and was also live-streamed online and recorded for future events.

In a speech titled “Listening Is More Important Than Hearing,” I shared how I was born with a profound binaural hearing loss and learned how to communicate through years of speech therapy. I demonstrated some of the challenges that come from lipreading, such as how “V” and “F” look identical but the sound is different by how much air comes out of your mouth and whether your voice box vibrates when saying it. I then talked about falling in love with music, and its transformative power that led me to pursuing a career in radio — and never once letting my “disability” stand in the way. I learned to appreciate music by listening to it, not just hearing it, and worked hard at radio stations in high school and college before landing a job at Clear Channel’s HOT 107.9 in Syracuse as a morning show producer and sidekick known as “DeafGeoff.” I worked with “Marty & Shannon in the Morning” for six years as possibly the only mostly deaf on-air personality in the country and our show was rated No. 1 in its target 18-34 demographic.

I’m now a producer/entertainment reporter at syracuse.com, the online affiliate of The Post-Standard newspaper but the challenges I face today are the same. At a radio station disc jockey (or as a club DJ), you have to listen to what your audience wants and respond to it. Social media users and website readers will often comment and/or share stories, and it’s the same thing — listening to the audience, responding to them, and continuing to inform and/or entertain.

I’m also still a DJ for parties, dances, weddings, events, etc. and I’m constantly listening to music and studying it, watching audiences to see how they react to songs. It’s amazing how hearing a favorite tune can change a person’s mood — or force them to start moonwalking (or shuffling or Gangnam-Styling or whatever) because the music is that infectious.

You can watch video of me speaking at TEDxBuffalo here, but please check out the other speakers as well. All had great, unique thoughts to bring to the event and I was happy to be a part of it.

Thank you to all who watched and tweeted me their thoughts afterwards, and thank you to Kevin Purdy for inviting me to speak at TEDxBuffalo. If anyone has any follow-up questions or would like to know more, please feel free to email me.

TMNT fail? The new ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ don’t say ‘Cowabunga’ anymore

Image

Everyone’s still concerned that Michael Bay is going to ruin the legacy of ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ with his upcoming reboot where the heroes in a half-shell are an alien race — but a new ‘TMNT’ is on TV, and it’s just as bad. The pizza-loving sewer-residing quartet is back with new Saturday morning cartoons on Nickelodeon, and a lot has changed. 2007’s big-screen disasterpiece ‘TMNT’ was bad enough in changing April O’Neill from a reporter to an archaeologist. Change is inevitable, reboots and remakes are easy money for Hollywood, but this is going too far.

Splinter is no longer a rat that mutated when he came into contact with ooze. He’s a human that mutated into a rat when he was mugged in alley while carrying his pets: four baby turtles.

‘Cowabunga!’ is gone. None of the Ninja Turtles say the catchphrases that made us love them in the ’80s and ’90s. Times change, and it’s understandable that some things would get updated with the new series, but now the hot new catchphrase is ‘booyakasha’… Apparently, they started shooting the series with nothing in the script but then voice actor Greg Cipes (who plays Michelangelo) used the ridiculous NBA Jam-esque word and it has become a part of the show.

Raphael is apparently the best turtle, according to the premiere episode where we’re all re-introduced to the turtles with a twisted new origin story. The show begins with the four teen turtles practicing martial arts in their sewer lair. Leonardo and Raphael best Donatello and Michelangelo, and then Raph beats Leo. Every fan has a favorite (the blue one! the purple one! the orange one! no, the red one!) but the series never led us to believe one was a better fighter than the others. Instead, they all had specific skill sets that made them succeed as a team.

Jason Biggs and Sean Astin. Young viewers might have no idea the ‘American Pie’ star had sex with baked goods or who was ‘Rudy’ (or Samwise Gamgee from the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy), but they are the voices of Leonardo and Raphael, respectively. It’s very distracting to hear recognizable voices as well-established characters, not to mention Biggs has already hurt the show with his racy, very R-rated commentary on Twitter.

Anime graphics. The Ninja Turtles might be popular in Asian markets or with U.S. viewers who also like anime, but they had their own visual look that keeps getting changed with each version of the show. ‘TMNT’ was bad, but the new ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ TV show actually uses anime-like graphics such as an asterisk popping up when someone’s hit — or has a thought. There was a Japanese series called ‘Mutant Turtles: Choujin Densetsu-hen’ that satisfied the anime fans, so why not keep them separate?

Michelangelo has a new weapon. Leo still has his swords (or Katanas), Donny still has a bo (or staff), Raph has his sai — and Mikey has his nunchucks (or nunchaku) but now they apparently have sharp things at the end, like he’s going to whip them around and impale thugs in the head as he does it. The updated weapon is too scary, violent.

And to make matters worse, the show doesn’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon. The Sept. 29 premiere episode was the week’s top telecast with kids 2-11 (6.2/2.1 million) and the cable network’s top-rated premiere for an animated series since 2009, reaching nearly 12 million total viewers in its debut weekend. 26 more episodes have been ordered and toys are coming. Cowabunga? Booyakasha?

Divorced Syracuse basketball fan wants custody of kids for day of NCAA Championship if SU is playing

Divorced Syracuse basketball fan wants custody of kids for day of NCAA Championship if SU is playing

In a divorce agreement, a Syracuse basketball fan (like the one pictured above) wants custody of his kids for the day of the NCAA title game… if SU is playing.

As a child of divorce and a Syracuse University alumnus, I couldn’t help but share this story about a truly die-hard SU basketball fan.

An Illinois man, identified only as Michael by Yahoo! Sports’ The Dagger, has made an unusual (and awesome, if you’re a sports fan) request in his child custody agreement. After divorcing, his ex-wife requested custody of their son and daughter for several Jewish holidays, Thanksgiving and Labor Day.

Most other holidays, including the kids’ birthdays, are divided up evenly or shared but dad wants 7-year-old Julia and 5-year-old Liam every Easter, St. Patrick’s Day and the day of two sporting events: Super Bowl Sunday and the “NCAA Men’s Basketball Final until end of game if Syracuse is in.”

That’s right, the father is demanding custody of his children for the NCAA Championship game if Syracuse is playing for the men’s college basketball title. A screenshot of the agreement can be seen at Cuse Country.

“Even though Syracuse has only won the title once and it may not happen for another 20 years, it’s something that’s really important to me,” Michael told The Dagger. “It’s not a holiday exactly, but it is holy to me. Other people define themselves by their religion or race. Frankly, Syracuse sports, especially basketball, football and lacrosse, are a big part of my heritage.”

And even though he now lives 700 miles from Central New York, Michael says he continues to teach his children to root for Syracuse. He even dressed them in SU sports gear and watches Syracuse football and basketball games with them.

According to The Dagger, Michael never attended Syracuse University but grew up in Syracuse rooting for the Orange when they were still called the Orangemen. In grade school, he and his family gathered to watch former SU basketball stars like Derrick Coleman, Sherman Douglas, Billy Owens and Rony Seikaly.

Of course, the only time Syracuse won the Big Dance was against Kansas in 2003 under head coach Jim Boeheim, with current NBA all-star (and Team USA Olympic player!) Carmelo Anthony. However, Huffington Post notes that SU’s strong performance this past season and already high predictions for the 2012-13 season, Michael just might get to see his kids on the day of the next NCAA title game.

As a fellow fan who bleeds Orange, I always hope Syracuse’s sports teams win big so I’m rooting for Michael’s request. I was a freshman at the school when Hakim Warrick blocked the shot in the final seconds of the 2003 championship, so I got spoiled early. As someone whose own parents are divorced, I don’t see anything wrong with the agreement — unless it’s a nasty jab at his ex-wife for being a fan of one of SU’s rivals, like Georgetown, UConn or whoever will be next in the ACC… which would just makes it more awesome. Go SU!

Is chocolate the opposite of vanilla? Friendly’s says it is

Friendly's sign in Wilbraham, Mass.

Friendly’s headquarters are in Wilbraham, where a sign along the Massachusetts Turnpike greets drivers to “Wilbraham, home of Friendly Ice Cream.”

Let me start by saying I’m a fan of Friendly’s restaurants. I grew up in Massachusetts about an hour from where the company began in Wilbraham, MA, and I have a lot of fond memories of being a kid and going to Sunday brunch with my family, having a Fribble with fluffy pancakes and a Happy Ending for dessert. I still love seeing the Wilbraham Friendly’s sign on the Mass Pike when I’m driving on Rt. 90 from Syracuse to visit family and friends in the Boston area, and I also still dine at the chain occasionally as an adult and look forward to their ice cream creations, from the classic Cone Head to their other sundaes.

But while at a Friendly’s restaurant in Central New York recently, I noticed that the kids’ menu has a crossword puzzle with an interesting clue: “1 Down — The opposite of vanilla.” Sure enough, the corresponding space had nine boxes for the word “chocolate.” Two other clues from Across confirmed the word had to be chocolate as they were for the words “rainbow” and “baseball,” forcing 1 Down to be _ _ O _ _ _ A _ _. (Go ahead and fill the letters in, CHOCOLATE fits.)

Is vanilla the opposite of chocolate? And is chocolate the opposite of vanilla? I’m not sure if I agree.

Ice cream has been around for hundreds of years and different flavors have long existed — Baskin-Robbins had 31 flavors in 1945, so it’s not like chocolate is (or was) the opposite of vanilla by default because of a lack of other flavors. If we’re talking color, cocoa beans are brown and vanilla beans are pale yellow, almost beige — anyone who’s ever had a box of 64 Crayola crayons would be hard-pressed to say brown is the opposite of yellow. And while I’m not a taste connoisseur (despite being hard-of-hearing, the “lose one sense, gain another” adage is mostly a myth) in my personal experience I’ve never eaten chocolate and thought “Man! This is completely the opposite of vanilla!” as both are sweet and not the other classic tastes (sour, bitter, salty, etc).

Friendly's crossword puzzle

A crossword puzzle on a Friendly’s restaurant kids menu suggests chocolate is the opposite of vanilla.

And of course, if we’re accepting Friendly’s premise that vanilla is the opposite of chocolate, then what about other flavors? What’s the opposite of strawberry? Or orange sherbert, or chocolate mint? Would Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food or Half Baked have an opposite? (I guess one could argue Half Baked’s alternative could be Fully Baked or Un-Baked, but that’s still not really an opposite.)

What do you think? Is chocolate the opposite of vanilla?