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Social Network Numbers in 2014

What are the social network numbers in 2014? Just how many people are using Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Google+, and more?

The social network numbers are staggering. There are 7.2 billion people on planet Earth – the top 21 social networks have a combined 5.7 billion user profiles. More than a third of the world population now has access to the internet.

Some people still argue that Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and the other top networks are huge time wasters. Maybe so. But the numbers tell a story. To dismiss social networking as irrelevant feels similar to the great Yogi Berra quote: “No one goes to that restaurant anymore because it’s too crowded.”

Whether you join a network because it’s the newest craze, to connect with old and new friends, to entertain, to be entertained, to market and sell, to buy – or some combination that includes other reasons, here is what is happening in the universe of social networks in 2014. [Read more…]

The Golden Rule of Twitter – and Back Rubs

Twitter numbers are huge and still growing. As of 2012 there were 500 million users, doing 350 million daily tweets, and conducting 1.3 billion searches. We’re halfway through 2013 and I’m sure the numbers have moved upwards dramatically.

Whether you are on Twitter to entertain, network or sell something, how in the world do you gain followers and then get them to read and share your tweets?
If you follow someone on Twitter and they don’t follow you back, you are a fan. If they follow you and you don’t follow back, you have a fan.For most people the “fan” model doesn’t really work.

Most of the 500 million of us on Twitter aren’t going to command a huge fan base based on setting up an account with our name or a clever pen name and posting some tweets – and once you follow 2,000 people, you must have at least half that many followers to follow more.So most of us need to follow the Golden Rule of Twitter.

It just so happens that the Golden Rule of Twitter is very much like the Golden Rule that Jesus spoke of in the Bible: Do to others as you would have them do to you (Luke 6:31, NIV).

If you want follows, mentions, and retweets – yes, by all means, make your account and tweets as good as possible – but the more certain route is to follow, mention, and retweet others yourself.

People appreciate fair play and will respond in kind. Sometimes it’s nothing more than quid pro quo – but why shouldn’t social networking be based to some degree on mutual back rubs?

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Self Promotion: I Wanna Talk About Me

How many times can I work in a reference to Toby Keith’s big hit, “I wanna talk about me”? Funny song and a great reminder straight from Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People – everyone wants to get a word in edge-wise. It also raises the question of self-promotion with people you know.

This is a personal question for me. As an author my publisher tells me I have to promote my books – if I don’t, no one else will either. As  a publisher, I tell my authors the same thing.

But no one wants to lose friends.

So when promoting your activities – particularly with friends – particularly in the social media age we live in – how much is too much? not enough? just right?

Be aware you will always get one of three responses:

  • Anything you say to promote yourself will be too much with some.
  • Others sincerely want to know what you’re doing.
  • Still more aren’t going to notice anything you say anyway – so who cares?

Of course some argue the issue on moral grounds, pointing out that humility is a God-ordained virtue and boasting is sinful. The counterpoint is that followers of God should be bold and believe in what they are doing; they ask the question, if you don’t believe in yourself and what you’re doing, who else should and will?

There is obviously no single answer. You can already read my mind on the topic. My typical response: the answer is yes and no, more and less.

Better go with your own comfort level, but know you can’t control your intended responses no matter how careful or capricious you are. My simple counsel – as much a reminder to myself as a word to anyone else – is:

  1. keep a spirit of humility and sense of humor – your project is not the center of the universe or a matter of life and death for others – even if your cause is life and death.
  2. do not overdo it lest you become a nuisance – the rule of thumb for Facebook and other high relationship networks is three times a week; Twitter unlimited.
  3. same as general conversation, make sure you listen as much as you speak – do you know what others are up to?
  4. if you are on social media, at least in part, to promote something you are doing, be sure to return the favor to others and acknowledge what they are up to.
  5. keep it “soft sell” as most people don’t like to be pushed.

If none of what I wrote helped you on the topic, maybe you’ll get more direction from Toby.

10 Reasons NOT to Write a Book

10 reasons not to write a book

Before you start on chapter one …

So you want to be a writer? Most people you tell that to are going to say something to you like, “very cool” and “you can do it.” But I’m here today to dispense reality. Before you start on chapter one let me give you 10 reasons NOT to write a book!

1.  Everything there is to say has already been said. Leave it to no less of an expert on writing books that have sold well than King Solomon, who said: “History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new.  Sometimes people say, ‘Here is something new!’ But actually it is old; nothing is ever truly new. We don’t remember what happened in the past, and in future generations, no one will remember what we are doing now” (Ecclesiastes 1:9-11, NLT). If that’s not enough to discourage you, keep reading.

2.  There are already more books published than people will read. Bowker, the company that dispenses ISBN numbers, reports that more than 1 million new titles are being released in the US alone each year. That doesn’t count the number of independent books being PUBLISHED without an official ISBN number. UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) estimates there will be 1,761,280 books published worldwide this year. (See my infographic on the top book-producing countries.)

3.  The average number of units each new book published will sell is 250. As low as that number is, it is still inflated by books that sell hundreds of thousands and millions of copies. For most authors, writing will not pay the bills and will be a labor of love. (Do you want to know how much authors make?) [Read more…]

Steroids, Blood Doping, and Deflated Footballs

Tom Brady

Deflate-Gate: What did Tom Brady know?

If it wasn’t for steroids, blood doping, and deflated footballs – plus a plethora of well-publicized misbehaviors from adultery to drug abuse to gambling – our sports heroes would still be our heroes.

In a distant past and far away galaxy, reporters would protect the reputation of a raging, self-destructive alcoholic like Yankee great, Mickey Mantle. (Those were his own words.)

The 60s and 70s brought a different brand of reporting that was a mix of a more robust and aggressive investigative journalism with a heaping dose of shock appeal. The “shock” part of that mix exploded first with the internet boom and then went from a hydrogen bomb to a nuclear bomb with the eruption of social media. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and a host of others are Barry-Bonds-level steroid injections for the TMZ-reveal-all world we live in.

The latest scandal to rock the world of sports is the revelation that the New England Patriots used under-inflated footballs in the AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts, a game which they won, to reach Super Bowl XLIX in Glendale, Arizona, against the Seattle Seahawks on February 1, 2015. [Read more…]