“Social Media Made Me Do It” and Other Silly Notions

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I love a spicy debate over new technology or social trends, and these days it’s impossible to mention Twitter or Facebook without triggering a verbal throw-down.

peeking through fingersOnce as separate as church and state, technology and social engagement are now inextricably bound together.

The whole notion scares the bejeebees out of people. Thanks to the near-mainstreaming of Twitter, Facebook and other community platforms, it’s a cinch to elicit a stream of grunts and eye-rolling from your spouse, colleagues and friends.

That Twitter Thing

As you read these words, someone down the corridor or across the room at Starbucks is clucking over this “Twitter thing.”  It goes something like this: Continue reading

5 Websites Every Marketer Should Visit

Marketers are dogs, aren’t we? Come on now, that’s a metaphor, but think about it. Marketers, regardless of rank or function, have a lot in common with those lovable, energetic canines. We need to get out of the yard sometimes. Run in a few goofy circles; see what the other dogs are doing; sniff out the competition.

In order to think outside of the (proverbial) box, marketers have to get out of the box altogether. Even if you’re on a tight leash because your budget got a hatchet job, you need to breathe some fresh air and spark those neurons.

If nothing else, head to a coffee shop with your laptop and surf the web. Here are 5 sites that have now become regular stops on my route when I need to break away from the pack:

Ragan Communications

Ragan.com

What it is: Ragan.com covers corporate communications (inside and out) and serves up its content in a host of ways.  The site is just one of the ways  the company delivers relevant information to communicators, writers, and marketers.

Publisher and CEO Mark Ragan walks the walk and talks the talk with social technology including Twitter (publishers of major media outlets should take note).

Why I love it:  Titles and business cards come and go, but I’ve always been and always will be a writer. This is the website I’d choose if I had to forsake all others. Ragan.com exudes confidence and authority, and its coverage of our industry (and craft) has teeth.  For those days when your company has either chucked corporate communications under the bus or over the fence, this site will stoke your fire about the value you offer.

BusinessBalls businessballs

What it is: BusinessBalls is a no-frills, resource-packed site related to business training, organizational development, and career (to name a few). Everything on the site is FREE: the materials, exercises, tools, and templates.

Built by Alan Chapman, BusinessBalls.com began as an experiment. Today the website attracts about a million people each month. (Tip – visit the site for the origins of his website’s name.)

Why I love it:  BusinessBalls feeds my insatiable curiosity about leadership and development.  The site is hardly just for marketers, so pass it along to managers, trainers, educators, HR pals or anyone else who is a lifelong learner.

SlideMagnet

SlideMagnet Homepage

What it is:  SlideMagnet is an online portal and magazine for presenters (and people who support them). Brand-spanking-new, it’s the brainchild of Scott Schwertly, CEO of Nashville-based Ethos3 Communication.  This site has tips and advice on presentation development, design and delivery, plus it gives the skinny on new technology and tools.

Why I love it: Schwertly is out to rid the world of hideous powerpoint presentations. His passion is so strong that he’s willing to educate the rest of us, so we save ourselves, one slide at a time. If you are guilty of powerpoint torture, or if you’re too chicken to tell your boss he sucks the life out of the room with his company meeting slide decks, check this one out.

Marketing Charts

MarketingCharts Website

What it isMarketingCharts.com is just that: a site that serves up metrics from the marketing, advertising and publishing worlds. The site covers the gamut from the top 10 online retailers to marketers’ top social media tools. The site updates its major datasets at least once a month plus keeps charts from previous periods.

Why I love it: So shoot me – I have a fixation with charts.  Truthfully, I use these charts to bedazzle my analytical counterparts, especially the ones who glaze over when I talk.  Marketingcharts.com is my go-to source when I need marketing and media benchmarks.

In addition to the charts, the site provides me with the data in downloadable Excel format. In a hurry? Search Google Images for the type of metric you’re looking for along with the word chart.

Mashable Mashable

What it is:  Officially, mashable.com is the world’s largest blog focused exclusively on Web 2.0 and Social Networking news. It reviews new Web sites and services and publishes breaking news on what’s new on the web. Unofficially, it’s the site responsible for my sleep deprivation. There is simply not enough time in the day to soak up its content quantity and quality.

Why I love it:  Mashable.com is my social technology bible (the lower case “b” will keep me out of confession). Here’s the beauty:  I don’t have to visit the site to find something useful. On any given day, great links appear right before my eyes (via Twitter).

Ahhh, social technology really is the circle of life (yep, that one means I’m going to confession).

It’s your turn now. Share your favorite sites! My mom reads my blog, so I’m looking for sites that won’t get you fired or put me in the doghouse. (totally unintentional pun, by the way).