things that make me want to punch you and a friend

8 Sentences to Immediately Cut From Your Twitter Bio

by Marian Schembari on January 6, 2011

Because of time constraints and the rash of horrible Twitter profiles lately, I’ve taken to only clicking on someone’s username if their bio looks interesting. While I may have already bitched about the eight reasons no one’s following you on Twitter, I want to take a deeper look into the specifics of The Bio.

8 Bio Mistakes to Avoid Like the Plague

1. “Mom of 3, Granny of 7, Wife of 1.”

If I had a nickle for every time I saw some version of this in a bio, well, I wouldn’t be writing this blog. Unless you’re a mommy blogger, we couldn’t care less. While I’m sure your kids are supremely awesome, if you’re using Twitter for professional reasons, you’ve basically told us the reason we should follow you isn’t for your work, but your family.

2. “Lover of Jesus Christ.”

I hesitate to mention this, but it’s the truth: Unless you’re a minister or religious blogger, shouting about your love of God and prayers to the Lord is going to do one thing: Alienate those who don’t share your beliefs.

3. “I love poodles, am an antique doorknob collector, like to play with fire, have read 27 books today and my room is entirely pink.”

To be honest, I’ve seen a few profiles that list irrelevant facts like this that I actually like. However, if you’re hoping to build a network in your field or want to generate blog traffic, no one cares about your antique doorknob collection. Unless, of course, you’re crushing it via your blog about antique doorknobs.

4. “I want to share my marketing ideas with YOU!”

Anything about making us better online and/or social media bullshit ls just lame and completely unoriginal. If you’re a social media guru, awesome, just try to find some fresh language to liven up your profile and make it actually appealing.

5. “Follow me @TylerH, @TylerHardy, @Tyler_Movies and @TylerAndYourMom.”

Listen, if you tweet about horses at @ILovePonies as well as @JaneDoe, by all means, list that handle. If you have another blog, mention it. HOWEVER, I came across a profile today that actually listed 5 different accounts, meaning there was no room to actually tell us who he was. Someone please explain the point of that to me?

6. “I Like To Capitalize Every Letter.”

Folks, Twitter is not a sales letter and if you’re a yoga instructor and a ballerina and a blogger don’t say something stupid like: I Am A Yoga Instructor, Ballerina And Blogger. THESE ARE NOT PROPER NOUNS AND UNLESS THERE ARE PERIODS AFTER EACH WORD PLEASE USE LOWER CASE.

7. “Follow me pweeze!”

Please PLEASE don’t ask people to follow you or say something like, “I just wanna meet people” or “Love developing relationships online!” Vomit. And desperate much?

8.”Life is like a box of chocolates ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥”

Avoid quotes, complete nonsense no one will understand, improper grammar and any sort of image that makes it hard to read the actual content (i.e., hearts/music notes/flags).

2 Things You May Want to Include Instead

1. A discount code or helpful download. See my post about M-Edge and why offering some sort of present to potential followers can help spread your Awesome far and wide.

2. A relatable “irrelevant fact.” If you’re a dietitian, it’s okay to mention that you love cookie dough ice cream. Random facts can be great as they make you a more well rounded tweep, just try not to make your whole profile about said facts. Then you’re just a jumble of words and we can’t differentiate you from all the other millions of folks out there.

Now, I’m considering developing this post into more of a “step-by-step tips to a better Twitter profile” as a sort of “super cheap or free guide slash workbook” to help you guys build or improve your profiles. Raise your hand if you’d be interested!!

Also, up next week: I give you the insider’s tour to what it’s like to work with yours truly. An awesome client has agreed to let me show you the before and after of her Twitter profile! Get pumped.

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Are You a Troll?

by Marian Schembari on November 8, 2010

According to Wikipedia (which, as we know, is always right) an Internet Troll is: Someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking other users into a desired emotional response.

I’ve been thinking a lot about internet trolls and cyberbullies lately. The first time I got a negative comment on my blog it really did my head in. I mean, I was upset for days. Then there was that weird bullying incident back in August. Really shitty stuff, but I only cried for a day. Then a few days ago I wrote that retweet post that got a fair amount of people riled up. Apparently retweets are a hot topic. I mean, hot enough for me to be called “stupid,” “lazy,” and “egotistical” all in one day. It wasn’t fun, but I’m over it.

I realized I was over it when one woman who was slagging me off said (paraphrased to protect the not-so-innocent) “You’re childish and I have no respect for you and I’m finished with this conversation…” Then proceeded to send out three more tweets with more arguments, name-calling and statements that she was “finished.” I realized then that it wasn’t me. It was her. She needed to call me out. For whatever reason she was really angry with me. Not just “I disagree with you and am going to argue” but reeeaally angry. Angry in an unhealthy way. In a way that showed me sometimes people just need to bitch. In a public, name-calling kind of way.

I get the bitching part. I LOVE to bitch. But I would never, in a million trillion years, name call. Point fingers. Publicly humiliate someone.

Until I realized that I did.

I’m a Horrible Person

A few months ago ProBlogger wrote a post about something blog related (duh). I can’t remember what it was, but at the time I was really frustrated because I felt the post title promised something the content didn’t deliver. I find that to be the case with a lot of social media blogs. I don’t know about you, but I never actually feel like I get those 7 secrets  you promised.

So with that in mind I sent out a bitchy tweet saying, “This post is dumb. RT @ProBlogger blah blah blah.” Darren actually responded saying, “Um, why is it dumb? Could you give me specifics?” And I felt moderately bad, promised to leave an in-depth comment, then promptly forgot about it.

Thing is, I never would have said to someone in person “Your blog post is dumb.” Who does that? No one. No good person. But for some reason, when you’re online and all you do is link to someone so popular you think they would never read it, it’s okay to act like an ass.

Then Someone Did it to Me

My feelings were definitely hurt (for a second) when someone retweeted my post and said, “This is so stupid! Ego much? RT @MarianSchembari blah blah blah” And then I realized, am I any better? I can bitch and moan about trolls and can write a post where my amazing and supportive readers leave comments saying that it’s just people being jealous, but I know that’s not the case. Most of them are probably just like me. Like you.

We are all the bullies on the schoolyard. And I want us all to start talking a long hard look at how we conduct ourselves online.

Is it EVER Okay to Call Someone Out?

One of my favorite blogs is run by Erika Napoletano, Redhead Writing, and she will regularly call people out on their shit. Sometimes she rags on general people – like freelancers or even herself – and sometimes she calls people out by name. As you can imagine, this tickles my pickle. I laugh. I think it’s hilarious and will leave something witty (well, in my brain it’s witty) in the comments section.

I call that person stupid. Or idiotic.

Completely forgetting that there’s an actual person in there.

Listen, I love bitching as much as the next person. And, to be honest, I think the people in Erika’s posts had it coming. Especially the sexist pig. But I’m also starting to realize that sometimes we don’t take each other’s feelings into account when we’re online the way we would in person.

So today, I’d like you to be nice to someone. And the next time someone says or writes something you don’t necessarily like, before you send them an email with your rants or a tweet calling their post stupid, think to yourself, “Would I say this to their face?” Because if you wouldn’t, step away from the keyboard. I promise you’ll be over it in an hour and you’ll spare a perfect stranger a really shitty day.

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Sometimes You Just Need to Tell People Like Me to Shove It

by Marian Schembari on November 4, 2010

If you’ve been using social media for any length of time, you start to notice trends. No, not hashtags of Justin Bieber, but people who use the term “ninja” in their Twitter bios or have baby pictures of themselves on Facebook (guilty!). You start to see the same things over and over and over again.

I turned those observations into a business. I do the research, I spend a lot of time online and (try to) keep up with all the latest news.

I blog about it. Obviously. While I tend to mix a lot of personal into the professional here, I do give you “advice.” Best practices. Tips. Lessons. Pet peeves. Email Q&A. All under the umbrella of social media.

But do you know the biggest trend I’ve noticed? Conflicting information. Radically different pieces of advice from similar sources. Best practices and tips and lessons that contradict each other so badly it makes my head hurt.

So here’s today’s lesson, kiddos: Sometimes you just need to tell people like me to shove it.

Raise Your Hand if You’ve Heard One of These Pieces of Advice

Post every day to up your traffic – It’s common sense. The more you post, the more people will come. The more active your site looks to Google, the more opportunity for new readers and subscribers.

Don’t post unless you have something to say – But you don’t want a site that’s just full of meaningless garbage, right?

Don’t talk about what you had for breakfast – Biggest social media stereotype in the book, folks, we’re all wary of TMI.

Talk about every meal - But look at some of the most successful food bloggers out there. I obsessively read Kath Younger’s Kath Eats. She posts every meal she eats and because of this no-holds-barred sharing of her life, we all keep coming back for more.

Be transparent – Penelope Trunk and her miscarriage. Naomi Dunford and her, well, self. Transparency is the new black and if you want a successful blog you’ve gotta lay it all out on the table.

Don’t be too transparent – But what if your mom reads it? Or a potential employer? You don’t want your drunken night in Cancun or last night’s sexcapades splattered all over the internet. As every single Baby Boomer has told a Gen Yer: “Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want Grandma to see.”

Be controversial – Controversy is the best way to get comments, and every blogger digs comments. Controversy sparks discussion and shares and the ever elusive blog notoriety.

Don’t talk about anything touchy – But what if it’s not your style to be controversial? What if you post about bird watching or design or just want to promote your photography business? Well then, don’t drum up an argument just to get hits.

Write short posts - Blog readers are notoriously ADD and if you’ve got posts over 500 words you’re totally screwed, no one is going to read your stuff. Get to the point already.

Write long posts that deliver lots of value – Sometimes you just need to write an essay. Blog readers may be ADD, but who ever really learned something from a Seth Godin mini-paragraph (thanks for the heads up on this issue, James)? Book excerpts and short stories, how-to articles and interviews are all awesome examples of long posts that do amazingly well.

Here’s What I’d Like You To Do

Today, I’d like you to  stop stressing. Stop freaking out. Stop trying to find “the answer.” Do what feels right, learn from your mistakes and, I promise, the rest will come.

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Conversation Starter: Blog Cliques & Online Annoyances

by Marian Schembari on October 6, 2010

The best part of this blog is what’s happening in the comments section, so I thought every week or month (or whenever I feel like it, really) I would pose an open-ended question to you all so we can share our successes, trials, tribulations, annoyances and favorite tips. Kind of like an online forum, but you don’t have to pay for it or sign up for anything.

I want to kick off this series by talking about online annoyances. What’s your least favorite part of the online world? What is that one thing, that every time you see it or read about it, your panties automatically twist up in a giant ball? What would you desperately like to change?

My biggest annoyance? Blog cliques. Oh. Em. Gee. I may not be the only blogger not going to Blog World, but I sure feel like it. I also feel like if I did go I’d feel left out cuz all the other Big Important Bloggers have no idea who I am and I could care less about licking their collective ass (read this awesome post by The Redhead on popularity).

As you’re well aware, I have plenty of annoyances. Most of my posts actually revolve around  a bitchfest, but today I’d like to open up the floor to you.

Share your thoughts, pet peeves and hard core bitching in the comments below so we can all feel a little bit better about ourselves.

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Why I Hate Information Products

by Marian Schembari on September 30, 2010

There are a number of ways bloggers can make money – the most common method being advertising, followed by donation buttons, services and products. For most people at my level of blogging (not enough traffic to make any real cash through ads, good enough traffic to sell things to our audience), the next logical step is to offer an infoproduct. Most bloggers I know offer products that teach about blogging, but depending on the niche you can offer anything from recipe books to DJing tutorials.

Infoproduct: The Definition

Last week I created a Twitter poll asking how you felt about infoproducts, and a surprising number responded saying, “What’s an infoproduct?”

According to Wikipedia, an information product is “any final product in the form of information that a person needs to have.” Oh wow. Thanks, Wiki. Soooo helpful.

So I’ll try my best to enlighten you: An infoproduct can be anything from a book to training videos, but in the online world an infoproduct is usually found in the form of a “blueprint,” “mastermind group,” or “training program.” Vomit vomit vomit. EBooks, video workshops, membership sites… infoproducts come in many forms, so if you’re still confused here are some examples:

It’s Already Been Said

Due to some reader suggestions and general popularity of said products, I’ve considered offering something similar. It would be nice to make a product and be done with it, as the freelance lifestyle is full of the stress of finding the next client. Thing is, I have some issues with the It’s Already Been Said model.

One of my biggest problems is that I’m in a business that, by definition, consists of a HUGE online community. Meaning what I have to teach has already been taught. Social media is always changing, yes, but the content that’s already out there is pretty stagnant. On top of that, even though I know a few people would buy my stuff (like the Pajama Job Hunt), I just feel “icky” repeating the same ole information. I guess I have this very large desire to be different. Creating an infoproduct means I’d just be following the crowd.

That said, a client said to me during an email debate about products, “As for the information being the same, that may very well be true.  However, I’m a picky girl when it comes to teachers and you’re much more my style.” She also told me to tell myself, “Who cares! Hasn’t been said by me!”

There is No “One Size Fits All”

Also, I think the services I offer now are pretty awesome. And unique. Consulting is a VERY personal thing, and despite what many social media consultants preach, one size doesn’t fit all. Besides avoiding spam, there are very few rules we can all follow successfully. So while I see a lot of people making the same “mistakes” online, I also think different people needed to be treated in different ways. Different issues need to be addressed. I’ve bought a product or two and have concluded they can’t possibly be a substitute for someone coaching you along the way. So I think that’s where I’m headed. There’s definitely an eBook in my future and I know books are basically an infoproduct, but paying $200 for stuff I could learn for free by Googling it just isn’t my cup of tea.

There is so much free information online it’s relatively easy to learn how social media works and you can then put it into practice. But once you’ve learned it, I come in and point out what you’ve missed, where you’re losing followers, how to pimp out your profile. I do the things a generic infoproduct can’t do.

That said, a $17 eBook on Twitter is obviously way cheaper than my $100 critiques and there will be those who can’t afford my rates.  It’s probably smart to offer less expensive solution to working with me. This is my dilemma.

Everyone, Their Mom and Probably Your Mom Too

In my Twitter poll, a whopping 48% ticked off “everyone and their mom is creating a product.”

I’m not saying infoproducts are bad for everyone, I just think so many internet people go about it the wrong way by creating sleazy sales pages or teaching the same regurgitated bullshit over and over. I’ve bought a few infoproducts, created one and been given a few for free and have decided they’re not for me. But they may be for you. I highly recommend reading Catherine Caine’s How to buy infoproducts wisely if you’re considering a big purchase.

Am interested to hear your experiences now. Have you ever bought one? Would you do it again? Are you like me and sick-to-freaking-death of every blogger under the sun creating a product??