Guest post: Preventing a nervous breakdown in the age of social media

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This post was contributed by Ari Herzog.

Ari Herzog is an online media strategist for organizational leaders, providing consulting, speaking, and writing services.

He is also a first-term city councilor in the city of Newburyport, Massachusetts.

Maybe you know Ari and read his blog. His posts usually cause a stir and he remains the blogger on whose posts I’ve commented the most.

Sales revenue forecasts are down, customers are jumping to your competition, and you were just charged by your boss with being the de facto social media manager because the company lacks the funds to hire someone new.

“Great!” you mumble to yourself, recognizing you know next to nil on what social media is, let alone how to use it to boost the company line.

But, you’ve put in 10 years with the firm, the management trusts you to get the work done, and you realize you have nothing to lose.

First things first, you create a Twitter account. It’s the talk of the town and everyone from Oprah to Ellen to Britney uses it, so it’s gotta mean something.

You start following your role models. You reply to them and their questions but they don’t reply to you. In time, you broadcast your own thoughts or products the company launches. You notice strangers with weird names like jonas556 and BigProductRevu follow you. You don’t know why, and they don’t message you, but you assume they are fans.

When someone does send you a message, you don’t know because you don’t know you are supposed to check that link called Replies. Twitter is a failure in the first week.

Then, you turn to Facebook. You don’t know Facebook from skydiving, but because your 14-year-old kid is on it, he shows you the ropes on creating a profile which you do in the name of the company. You don’t get that, either.

You watch some YouTube videos and add some comments. Nobody comments back.

The sarcasm level of the above is very high, but it could be a real situation.

Maybe you aren’t like the fictitious person above. Maybe you are engaging with your customers every day on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Flickr.

Maybe you have a Ning-powered community in the name of your corporate brand. Maybe your company distributes audio-recorded press conferences on iTunes and video-recorded product launches on and uploads employee photos to Flickr. Maybe you’re using the web like the best of the best. But something’s not right. You have the passion but you’re getting tired and burned out.

You’re having a nervous breakdown.

Sorry to break it to you, but GOOD JOB! You are supposed to get burned out now and then. If you don’t question what you do and why you do it, you risk doing it for the wrong reasons.

Every optometrist will tell you to take a break from staring at computers or reading books to exercise your eyes. Every marathon trainer will tell you to not run every day because you need to relax your muscles. So, why do you write a status update on your favorite social networking service whenever you have something to say? If you don’t send that update, do you truly think your fans and customers will wonder where you are?

If you’re allowed to take a vacation with your family and leave your techno gadgets at home, surely you can take a vacation from tweeting, facebooking, and youtubing. If you don’t, I assure you that you will develop a mental illness. Your doctor would tell you to take care of your body before exerting physical pressure, so I suggest you similarly take a break, if even a deep breath, before sending that next update out.

Life will go on without that update.

And, if you can recognize life does go on without one social media marketing update, then imagine the repercussions if you take a week off from Twitter and Facebook. Continue your offline marketing instead, or focus on increasing the branding of that Ning community. Using social media does not mean using every tool every second of every day.

Unless they lose their funding, they’re not going away. So, take a break and protect your immunity.

Diary of a Web Gal least popular posts from the past year

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Diary of a Web Gal

After listing my most popular posts of 2009 it seemed only fair that I list my least popular posts of 2009.

These posts are basically the fat kid that got picked last in gym class (in England we say P.E. – physical education).

I’m hoping you’ll discover something in one of them that will help you or someone you know.

And if you feel so inclined you can check out my archives which list in a nice and simple format all past posts on Diary of a Web Gal.

So here are my blog posts most in need of a big hug.

My dog’s blog gets nominated for Canadian Weblog Award

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There was a little rejoicing in the Web Gal household yesterday.

One of my blogs, Hi, I’m Sadie Shih Tzu has been nominated for a Canadian Weblog Award (Life category).

The Canadian Weblog Awards promote blogs from across Canada year-round with interviews, articles, and the nomination, judging, and award process. A jury then decides on a short list and winners are announced in January 2011.

The awards are something of a breath of fresh air: they’re designed to uncover good, but perhaps not mainstream or popular blogs.

Much of the judging criteria focuses on common sense stuff that all web designers would apply when creating a website. The same stuff I use in my job as website manager.


  • Usability — Is the website user-friendly and easy to navigate?
  • Operability — Do all of its components function properly?
  • Interactivity — Are a comments section and author contact information available? Are its interactive components (including comments, audio, video, etc.) effective, appropriate, and accessible?
  • Aesthetics — Is the website pleasing to look at? Is its design original?
  • Originality — Is the content original and creatively expressed?
  • Intelligibility and clarity — Is the content well-written? Are the content’s messages clearly and effectively delivered?
  • Currency — Is the content timely? Is the weblog updated on a regular basis?
  • Transparency and authenticity — Is the author’s purpose and realness both trusted and apparent?
  • Attention to detail — Has the content been edited for spelling and grammatical errors? Is the content arranged for ease of consumption?
  • Engagingness — Is the content interesting? Does it contain broad appeal within its genre?

So we’ll have to be patient for a few months before we find out if Sadie’s blog progresses any further.

This is truly an honour to be recognised among my fellow Canadian bloggers. I’ve never envisioned making money from Sadie’s blog. It’s only ever an online space for her personality to come alive for others. Pure entertainment. And with the deluge of blogs available it’s a wonder anyone ever found Sadie’s.

We’ve no idea who nominated Hi, I’m Sadie Shih Tzu. If it was you, thank you.

There is more to social media than Twitter and Facebook

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I’m not the first person to say this and I won’t be the last but I’m getting a bit bored of reading that social media is all about Twitter (or maybe I’m getting bored of reading about Twitter?)

It isn’t. And it never will be.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Twitter. Most of the time.

And most of the time, it loves me back.

But people – there is a world outside Twitter.

I worry about the marketers who think as long as they have a Twitter account they have their social media bases covered.

No. You. Don’t.

I should be thankful that there’s so much interest in Twitter – most of the popular posts on my site from the past 12 months are about Twitter.

This all goes back to what I’ve said before: social media is a silly term. Misleading in fact.

There are many tools ‘out there’ that allow you and me and many others to talk to each other online including Facebook, Twitter et al. Many (most?) websites let you communicate through comments or using sharing tools.

In fact, the internet in general lets us all communicate with each other and have ongoing dialogue. That’s why it’s called ‘the social web.’

So to focus on one website (Twitter) is a mistake. It’s also foolish for websites dedicated to social media to largely be trumpeting Twitter.

There is so much more out there.

And if we’re to teach communication professionals (and anyone else willing to listen) about the benefits of the social web we’re not doing those folks any favours by remaining so narrow-minded.

This isn’t a case of me listing for you all the sites, in addition to Twitter, that make up the collective we call ‘social media tools.’

I’m talking about the entire internet. This blog. Your comments and so much more.

The internet has given us a way to talk to each other. To listen to each other. To share. To create. To manipulate content.

If you’re a communications professional, for the love of God, don’t let Twitter cloud your vision of what social media really is.

Amazing list – best internet marketing posts by Tamar Weinberg

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I love a good list.

Well I’ll be damned if the wonderful Tamar Weinberg hasn’t saved me an awful lot of work by curating the most delicious list of internet marketing posts from the past 12 months.

Apparently she makes this list every year.

It’s almost art.

If you’re looking for a diverse range of reading material (and one of my top tips for folks wishing to learn more about the social web is to READ A LOT) then this is an amazing place to start. In fact it may take you until 2011 to finish them all.

Prepare to be dazzled: The best internet marketing posts of 2009 by Tamar Weinberg

Diary of a Web Gal top ten posts from the past year

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Diary of a Web Gal

In blog land there are two common kinds of post you’ll see at this time of year.

I tried super hard not to become one of those cliches. Alas, I fail.

They are: Predictions for 2010 and My blog’s top posts.

As annoying and ubiquitous as the practice may be, looking back over the last 12 months at what you liked reading on my blog is a healthy and interesting exercise, both for you and for me.

So I now present to you the top 10 posts you read on my blog in 2009. (Cough, cough, notice a tweme theme?)

I reckon I should have done a top 10 of my least popular posts.

Hmm …

Dear reader: next week read my top 10 least popular posts.