Author: Josh Peters

How I’m cheating on Twitter

CrapwareI hate crapware. I’ve written and spoken about how much I hate it. It’s the reason why Twitter numbers mean nothing, it’s why you can’t just look at someone’s account and say “wow, they’re doing great!”, and it’s why you should be suspicious if an agency or consultant you’ve hired shows explosive growth for no real reason.

Another reason I detest crapware so much is that one of the corner stones of the social media evolution is transparency; using this stuff is anything but transparent. It’s a way of being lazy, of gaming the system, and turning social media into nothing more than a meaningless numbers game; reducing it from communications and relationships to a high school popularity contest.

However, I’m not an unreasonable man. Maybe, just maybe I’m not giving this stuff a fair shake. Maybe I’m not really doing it justice and I’m jumping to conclusions. Maybe there really is some hidden value behind these systems.

The Crapware Experiment

A while ago I created the Twitter account SMFeeds to constantly feed me, and anyone else who cared, posts from what I consider to be the best social media blogs on the web. Using this account I amassed a staggering 84 followers without doing anything more than just existing and retweeting posts from it.

The account has no business or popularity objective,  it has no real reason for existing other than that I want it to. That is why it’s absolutely perfect for this experiment.

10 days ago I signed up for a newcomer in the automated follower arena followATHON. This is a free service that supposedly helps you “Get tons of followers for free!” and “with followers who actually want to follow you”. It’s free because it places an ad for itself in your Twitter stream 3x a day.

Sounding too good to be true, I signed up SMFeeds for it and in the last 10 days it’s gained 10 whole followers, but is now following over 300. As of right now It’s not exactly a run away success.

The Metrics

Every Monday I’m checking the account and taking stock of what progress has occurred in the last week.

  1. Following
  3. RTs
  4. Positive @s
  5. Negative @s (people upset at the account using followATHON)
  6. Average link clicks
  7. Total link clicks

I took stock of each stat the week before to establish a base, and I’ll be running it for 3 months. Each month I’ll give an update on the progress with the stats. At the end of 3 months I’ll switch to another crapware and let it run for 3 months. My current plan is to just keep doing it, until I run out of crapware to test.

How you can help

In the comments below list some of the crapware you come across so I can test them here. Depending on how many programs I get, I might adjust the scope and duration of the testing. Right now I’m planning on using followATHON, Tweet Adder, Twitter Adder, Twillow, and then some kind of simple auto-follow service before returning to normal.

I realize it would be better to test each one head to head, and I have plans for that kind of test down the road, but first I want to see how they all stack up using the same account and how they build on the “success” of each other.

Thanks for reading,
Josh “Shua” Peters

Where Do Forums Fit Into Social Media Marketing?

When managing a company’s online presence, it’s very easy to fall into the trap of becoming fixated on only one aspect of social media. However, if you’re in charge of managing social media for a business, it’s important to give consideration to all facets and that includes forums.

As someone that previously worked at an internet marketing company, I was always amused when a client would become obsessed with their Facebook or Myspace profile (yes, this was a few years back) and ask us to dedicate an unreasonable amount of resources to managing it. It was usually the higher up suits that hear the word “Facebook” all the time and automatically conclude it would be best to dedicate 100% of their resources to it.

What I wish clients like that would realize is that each aspect of social media is only a tool (if you haven’t already, read Josh’s post on social media ROI). Just because something is popular, it doesn’t mean you will be automatically riding that popularity too if you use it. Whether the tool is Twitter, Facebook, forums, or something else… the specific tool won’t determine your ROI. What will determine your ROI is the talent of the person in charge of a particular tool.

Where do forums fit in?
As mentioned, it’s easy for businesses to fall into the trap of only focusing on whatever is hottest and newest. If that works for them, great! But at the same time, it’s important to dedicate some resources to other areas of social media. Let me give you an example…

On my site, I would prefer the discussion to revolve around positive things like credit card deals, but a lot of people come to the site just to complain about a particular credit card. For example, this negative thread recently popped up about GE Money Bank credit cards. This thread is still young which means GE Money Bank could easily reply and calm down the original poster, but they don’t bother.

In fact, there are purported complaints on many forums and blogs about their credit cards but to the best of my knowledge, I have never seen GE Money Bank respond and try to make peace with anyone. However, GE Money Bank appears to dedicate adequate resources to their Twitter account and addresses any concerns or complaints that are tweeted.

In a nutshell, they have Twitter covered but are ignoring other social media outlets. Does that make sense? Especially being that the aforementioned forum thread about GE Money Bank credit cards might very well be showing up in searches for years to come. To me, the logical thing to would be to address all areas of social media instead of only focusing on Twitter and Facebook. This is why I always encourage credit card companies to come on the site and interact with the posters, but thus far, only one or two ever have.

Plastic surgeons get it
If there’s one industry that understands the importance of diversifying resources, it seems to be the big city plastic surgeons. When I worked at an internet marketing company in Los Angeles, strangely enough it was only the plastic surgeon clients that right off the bat understood the importance of keeping tabs on all facets of social media. They were less concerned about what social media site/service was hot, and more focused on covering everything.

I know many plastic surgeons would prowl the plastic surgery message boards themselves and as soon as anything negative was posted, they would go into defense mode and reply with their side of the story. One rhinoplasty surgeon I knew even teamed up with a plastic surgery forum, by having them create his own board on the site where he would do Q&A with the posters… now that’s smart!

The lesson?
Take a cue from the hot shot Beverly Hills plastic surgeons… if you’re responsible for managing social media, make sure you pay attention to all areas. The amount of weight needed for each area varies depending on the type of business, but all I’m saying is to at least make sure you consider everything that’s out there.

This post was contributed by guest blogger & ex-internet marketer Michael who writes about credit card deals on his site CreditCardForum.

Want social media success? Make it meaningful.

Have you ever seen someone say “Wow, look at that social media campaign. Look how amazing it is that they are pushing out their same old advertising crap and ignoring everyone. Look at the way they haven’t embraced the medium, but instead have just found a new way of doing the same old crap. This is such a terrible waste of time, we should all emulate it.” No? Neither have I.

Your campaigns are never going to make headlines, your campaigns are never going to be worth talking about, your campaigns are never going to get anywhere until they mean something.

Would the Ford Fiesta campaigns have ever been note worthy if all it consisted of was a deaf Twitter channel and a few links that said “Tweet This”? No.

Would the Old Spice social media campaigns attracted any attention if they just consisted of “Here’s our crap, now buy it” messaging? Nope.

And would Jet Blue have had anywhere near the success they did if they just used the same old tired tactics and pushed out crap no one cares about? Definitely not.

A new year is just around the corner and it’s going to be a great opportunity for you and your business to find some meaning in your marketing. To build something that is new and exciting, to have a message worth spreading and to start seeing the success that comes with it.

Say no to meaningless marketing and start making messages that matter.

Thanks for reading,
Josh “Shua” Peters

Is Social Media Changing the Political Climate As We Know It?

If you ever played the game, Command & Conquer: Red Alert, you know that Albert Einstein invented a machine to change the weather. It was a Weather Machine (or something to that effect) capable of destroying your enemy’s units and buildings. It wasn’t the best weapon you could get, but if you had it you could tilt the game in your favor. If Albert Einstein were a lesser man he would have done so in real life. If he were alive today he would be a staunch advocate of social media. Why? For politicians today there is a sort of machine that exists, it’s called the Internet.

It’s hard to deny the influence of social media in politics. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton both announced their candidacies for President in 2008 on Youtube. Barack Obama’s campaign was defined by its ability to turn the young, the media hungry, and web savvy away from apathy and dejected cynicism, and into avid supporters that propelled his campaign into the white house.

Social Media is a kind of softball for smart and pragmatic politicians looking for low hanging fruit. With the ability to reach millions at low costs compared to traditional media like television, print, and radio, it’s a no-brainer. For media hungry politicians like Sarah Palin, who perhaps has a greater addiction to Twitter and Facebook than the average over-caffeinated High School teenager, social media is a godsend. It keeps them connected to their followers at all times, the die-hard fans and supporters who go to rallies, who call up radio shows and who talk obsessively at dinner parties.

But lets face it, politics is about money. The more money you can raise the more likely you are to win. It means better television interviews, better media placements and of course a better campaign manager who can make you a better candidate, which will make you look better in the media. Clearly social media is great way to get people interested very early on in the campaign process. A candidate who has an effective social media strategy, popular videos on Youtube, a ton of followers on Twitter, and a strong web presence, is at an advantage. That popular candidate has an advantage because, clearly, no one ever wants to bet on a losing horse.

Cynicism aside, social media is in a way changing how politics works, or at the very least challenging the current system; highlighting serious chinks in its armor, and disparities abound. In 2009, Twitter had its big coming out party on the back of the protest surrounding the Presidential elections in Iran. Despite heavy censorship of Internet Service Providers by the government, protesters staged an effective protest not only in the streets, but also in the global community. Not so much through traditional media outlets, but through Twitter. Newspapers and cable news stations reported on tweets and not sources in Iran.

In 2010, China shutdown Google, because Google was too democratic in showing search results critical of the politburo members Zhou Yongkang, and Li Changchun. We know this now thanks to another variation of social media, WikiLeaks, which is, according to every traditional media outlet and traditional politician, the devil incarnate.

So, is social media changing the political climate? The longer answer is maybe and only time can tell how effective it will be. There are numerous micro-donation sites that are dedicated to making real change happen but they represent small drops in the bucket compared to the prevailing trend of media hungry politicians. These drops represent a relative minority who have always been present, maybe as brick and mortar non-profits and NGO’s prior to social media.

But at the present time social media is a great forum for debate, promotion and fund-raising. If that constitutes a change in the political climate then yes social media is changing how we vote and debate and fund political campaigns and causes. But if we’re talking about a real change as in significant changes that lead to more effective government, and better policy, then no. Facebook, Twitter and Youtube may only serve as a distraction from the bigger picture.

Thierry Godard is a writer based in New York City. He is a guest blogger for My Dog Ate My Blog and a writer on accredited online universities for Guide to Online Schools.

Insubordinate added to free Seth Godin ebooks for download

Seth Godin

On Tuesday I added Brainwashed by Seth Godin to the “All of Seth Godin’s Free ebooks in one place” list that I have been keeping up on this site. That led me to start poking around and start looking to see if maybe there were some others I might have missed.

Yes, yes I did.

Insubordinate (17) is a free ebook related to Seth’s latest book Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?It’s a quick read packed with great insight into the heart of Linchpin. Give it a read and then if you like, come back here and leave a review of it in the comments sectio below.

Enjoy and thanks for reading!
Josh “Shua” Peters

p.s. It looks like Seth has indeed finally compiled a list of free downloads on his Squidoo page, so if you’d like to check that out for any additional, non ebook related downloads I haven’t added to my list, just click the link above.

New Seth Godin ebook “Brainwashed” added to free download list

Brainwashed Seth Godin Free Download

As of this morning Brainwashed (260) by Seth Godin has been added to the “All of Seth Godin’s Free ebooks in one place” list that I have been keeping for over a year. This one was brought to my attention by a reader, so huge thanks to Josh R from Rocky Mountain Fly Fisher.

If you haven’t already read it, Brainwashed is basically about things we’re conditioned to do from a young age, how they are hurting us, and how to fix them. Over the last few years it seems like Seth has been moving from marketing to self help, and this ebook doesn’t break that patter.

As usual, it’s a great read. It won’t take very long, but has some great lessons to teach us. Give it a download (right click & save link as), give it a read, and let me know what you think.

Thanks for reading,
Josh “Shua” Peters

The Ukrainian visitors and back to blogging

A couple weeks ago (about a month now) I had the tremendous opportunity to speak to a group of people visiting from another country, Ukraine to be exact, and it was phenomenal.

I had the chance to speak with them about how government is using social media and how it’s changing the face of American politics. They were a very active and interested group to speak with and it was a ton of fun. I hope I get asked to come back and do it again sometime soon.

On a personal note I want to thank everyone who took the time to send a thoughtful email, tweet, wall post, or comment. The last couple weeks have been very trying and you’ve all been so awesome. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Now to get back on that horse and find me some new clients, and write some new blog posts!

Thanks for reading,
Josh “Shua” Peters

Looking for a new opportunity

Josh S Peters

This photo is only moments old, and so is my shave.

This week marks the end of all my current consulting contracts as I prep for moving to jolly old California. This is the first time since I was 8 that I didn’t have a job (seriously, I’ve had a job since I was 8 years old at 29 I have 21 years in the work force). It’s kind of a creepy feeling living off of a savings account, but it’s necessary for making the move and that’s where you (my adoring public) come in.

I would love (some may say need) your help.

I have been consulting since 2007 and at times it can be lonely. I actually want to be part of a team (preferably as a manager or director but beggars can’t be choosers). It’s something I have been missing out on and would love to get back to. It’s one of those things that I feel I need right now for the progression of my career.

As you, my readers, might know, I am a published author, I have blogged all over the web, spoken to a variety of groups, and worked with Fortune 500 clients. I am now looking for a position that will take advantage of all that I have done and deliver new challenges that I can excel at. Additionally I want to go back to school to get my MBA and when you’re on your own, spare time is much harder to come by and your work day doesn’t last from 9-5, but from dawn till dark.

The position needs to be in California (preferably, but not necessarily, in the LA / Monrovia area) or be a remote position. I would like to work at an agency because working in this field for so long I have a ton of ideas that would help make an agency more remarkable but require a team to carry out. However, if the right corporate opportunity came along I definitely wouldn’t say no.

This is where I’m at, and this is where I ask sincerely of you my readers to spread this blog post and pass it on to anyone you know who is hiring for social media / internet marketing positions.

A HUGE thank you in advance. Below is my resume and link to my LinkedIn profile.

Thanks for reading & thanks for helping,
Josh “Shua” Peters

More businesses should use LinkedIn for job applications

As previously mentioned, I’m looking for a new employment opportunity, and as such I have been applying everywhere around the LA / Monrovia, CA area. During this search I have seen some of the most awful, lengthy, horrendous methods of applying for anything. I have filled out job profiles on corporate websites that have taken 45+ minutes and I was surprised they didn’t ask for a DNA sample to go with it.

There have been very few application processes that have been done even close to the way I think they should be done, and none have been done the exact way I think they should… till I found Netflix’s. Take a look at the screen capture above, notice how simple it is and how compact the info.

Resume, LinkedIn, name, and contact info. That’s it. What more do you really need these days? LinkedIn is basically a living resume with lists of your references, employers, accomplishments, other profiles, etc. More companies should look at this approach and take note.

After spending many many many hours looking, applying, and trying to find something new I can say that LinkedIn is completely underused. In fact, only 1 other application has asked me for my LinkedIn account yet. Which doesn’t make any sense to me. If you wanted to streamline your process, why wouldn’t you just want it glean all your info from one source instead of dealing with thousands of resumes in thousands of different formats?

It’s nice to see some companies working to get their HR, and application process in line with how things are changing online, but from my current experience I can tell you it’s still a far way from where it should be.

What are your thoughts on this?

Thanks for reading,
Josh “Shua” Peters

Why twitter follower numbers mean nothing

As a follow up to yesterday’s incredibly successful post (over 10,000 views on Social Media Today so far) I’m going to not just tell you, but I’m going to show you why Twitter followers mean nothing when judging value.

Take a look at these two accounts. Mozelle is from New Delhi and Gusella is from Mumbai and their accounts are EXACTLY the same (minus background and picture) and why is that? Well they are worthless spam accounts and one has 4,500+ followers while the other is just under 6,000.

Seriously, take a minute and look at them, and then think about it.

When you use crapware like TwitterAdder Pro and other junk to auto follow and grab as many followers as possible the numbers mean nothing. The only time you can use them as a gauge is when they are gained organically, when it’s grown without any “assistance” then you can measure your growth trend.

Twitter follower numbers, Facebook friends or fans when gained using “legal cheats” mean nothing, and even if they are gained organically they still don’t really mean much.


Because it shouldn’t be about what your neighbor gets out of following or friending that person (or even if they follow or friend you back), it’s what YOU get out of following or friending that person.

But what about company accounts? I’m sure some of you are using it for business and your boss doesn’t understand that 10 engaged followers are better than 1,000 who couldn’t care less and they would like to see those numbers rise.

Here’s a tip for that. Shift the focus.

Show how effective your Twitter account is as doing it’s real job of engaging and sharing info. Track your links, track your mentions, RTs etc. Track the stuff that matters and build on that.

If you want to play numbers games go here. If you want to communicate, grow your network, and engage other people, then go here.

Twitter is not about follower numbers, it’s not a numbers game, it never has been so stop trying to make it one. It’s all about the value YOU get from it.

Give it a good thought and ask yourself, If a worthless spam bot can get 6,000 followers without being shut down then really, what does that say about that “metric”?

What are your thoughts?

Thanks for reading,
Josh “Shua” Peters

image by Benimoto