Thursday, April 30, 2009

Web Secret #50: Top 10 Secrets

I have reached a milestone - my 50th post!

To celebrate, here are my top 10 Web Secrets listed Letterman style:

10. Web Secret #8: The Ten Commandments of Website Creation. It all starts with a well designed and well constructed website.

9. Web Secret #16 - Stumble Around. When you can't think of a single thing to blog about or Twitter about, this is all the help you need.

8. Web Secret #20 - SharedBook. Affordable reverse publishing - now that's a cool idea.

7. Web Secret #23 - TED. Inspiration at it's very best.

6. Web Secret #24 - Very Bad Websites. Serves as both comic relief and a what-not-to-do when it comes to websites.

5. Web Secret #34 - Web 3.0. Coming soon, in a future near you.

4. Web Secret #38 - 7 Ways to Get People to Read Your Blog. Try 'em, they work.

3. Web Secret #39 - Whopper Sacrifice. The best in viral marketing.

2. Web Secret #44 - Ethics of Online Counseling and Everything Else. Ethics in the online world. Sorely needed.

and the number one web secret...

1. Web Secret #48 - The Social Media Marketing Triangle. Achieve your optimal presence on the Web. Learned in the kitchen.

Join me in 2010, when I celebrate my 100th!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Web Secret #49: Twitter

OK, I will be the first to admit it - I HATED Twitter for a very, very long time. (OK not that long, it's only existed since 2006.)

Not only did I hate Twitter - I just didn't get it. Now I do.

If you don't get it, the first thing you should do is watch the video.

Twitter is a micro-blogging platform that answers the question "What are you doing?" Each Twitter post is a maximum of 140 characters - ie one or two sentences long.

Joining Twitter takes seconds. You go to, you provide your name, an e-mail address and select a password. You select your Twitter account name. (If your name is Sigmund Freud, your user name will be Voila! You are on Twitter. You can post "Tweets" on your Twitter account or you can follow other Twitter users who you think have something interesting to tweet.

Why should you do this? To grow your business/organization/professional practice of course.

First of all, Twitter is hip and powerful. Consider these stats:
August 2008: 475,000 visitors
March 2009: 7 million visitors

How do you use it? Twitter can be used to express your expertise. Tweet about your professional thoughts, your ideas, the most interesting article you just read, the fabulous conference you just attended, etc. Post the availability of your services, unexpected openings in your schedule. Follow your competition and see what they are up to.

Twitter Tips:

Tip #1 - Secure your Twitter username ASAP. In the Twitter search box – coming soon – users will be able to search “EAP”, “psychotherapy, etc. Your username is limited to 15 characters, if your business name is 15 characters or less, or can be reasonably abbreviated to 15 characters or less secure it as soon as possible. EVEN IF YOU AREN'T READY TO TWEET. You want to grab before your competition does.

Tip #2 - Manage your Twitter account with the help of It allows you to write your tweets in advance and schedule them so that your Twitter account always seems active.

Twitter Caveats:

Twitter must be updated on a regular basis (at least weekly, probably daily) - don’t start one if you can’t maintain it!

If you are not comfortable with this very informal and terse medium – don’t do it.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Web Secret #48: The Social Media Marketing Triangle

Last week I attended a social media marketing workshop in Manhattan. I always like to have a grip on the depth of my knowledge and ignorance of Twitter and the like. For extra punishment, I stayed to listen to a panel discussion about social media marketing.

The panel was a complete waste of time. It was lead by a Betty Boop like, very clueless person. Sample question asked of the panel of full time social media experts: "So like, how much time do you spend on social marketing each day?"

But the social media presenter was Rick Rochon, a very knowledgeable guy, and he said:
"Having a website is like having a billboard in the desert."
He meant that if you don't drive traffic to your website using other social media, it's a waste.

He advocates having a "blebsite" - linking a website and a blog.

I take it a step further - if your serious about promoting yourself or your business, you need a Social Media Marketing Triangle.

I thought about this concept after I heard my contractor talking about the "kitchen work triangle" as he attempted to remodel my "vintage" kitchen into something more 21st century. He kept harping about the need to have an invisible "work triangle" created by the arrangement of the sink, the stove and the refrigerator. It seems that the placement of these three elements in relation to each other is intrinsically connected to designing an efficient kitchen.

It got me thinking - maybe the key to self promotion on the web is an invisible "triangle" that you create on the Internet by cross referring between at least 3 web platforms.

Take, for example, your website, your Facebook page and your Twitter account. What if the strategic placement of any three social media elements in relation to one another is fundamentally connected to successfully marketing yourself or your organization on the Internet?

The more I think about it, the more I like it. Your website refers to your blog, your blog refers to Twitter, your Twitter account refers back to your website. The more triangles - the better. If you have the patience to build 4 triangles, you have a tetrahedron of social media networks.

How geodesic...

Monday, April 13, 2009

Web Secret #47 : Facebook

In my always popular workshop "Web Secrets for Mental Health Professionals," I have a PowerPoint slide that kind of says it all:
"Facebook - not just for teens anymore".
Don't believe me? Facebook signed up its 100 millionth member in August 2008. When will it register its 200 millionth user? It already did - the week of March 30, 2009! That's called doubling your size in just eight months — suggesting Facebook is rapidly becoming the Web’s dominant social ecosystem and an essential business networking tool in much of the wired world.

Wait - there's more. Facebook is signing up nearly a million new members a day, and now more than 70 percent of the service’s members live overseas. The site has been translated into 40 languages. And the fastest growing member demographic? People over the age of 35!

All of this is good news for professionals trying to market their services, or organizations trying to reach new members. For inspiration, go onto the Facebook website, open up an account, (you can open up an account without creating a Facebook page in a matter of seconds), then type in the name of your favorite organization, company or association in the search window. Chances are, they have a Facebook page, and you should too.

Now I have to tell you that whenever I talk about Facebook, at least one person in the audience raises concerns about Facebook's confidentiality. The truth of the matter is that your information is as confidential as you want it to be. You just need to use your privacy settings to manage your network. It's easy to do. On your Facebook page, click on "Settings", then "Privacy Settings". Now you can control:
  • who can see your profile and personal information
  • who can search for you, and how you can be contacted
  • what recent activity is visible on your profile and in your friends' home pages
  • what information is available to applications you use on Facebook
Be a pioneer! Most Facebook users don't take advantage of the privacy settings; the company estimates that only 20 percent of its members use them.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Web Secret #46 : Acer Aspire One Netbook

I have become a netbook enthusiast.

What’s a netbook? A shrunken Jivaro laptop. More specifically, a netbook is a laptop with a small screen and an undersized keyboard. Netbooks are small, light weight and VERY INEXPENSIVE, from just under $300 to $500.

If all you want to do is e-mail, Web browsing, chat, Skype and word processing – buy a netbook. Many people buy a netbook as a secondary computer – to take to class, or carry on a business trip. But some frugal recessionistas are now using a netbook in lieu of a laptop.

I’ll admit – at first I was VERY skeptical. Then I happened to spend the weekend at my friend Herb’s house. Herb is, to put it mildly, an EARLY, technology adopter. He always is the first of my friends to own a ___________ (fill in the blanks with the latest cool gadget of your choice.) Anyway, Herb proudly pointed to a sapphire blue, quite adorable 8.9” Acer Aspire One netbook and said, “See my new toy?”

I immediately started to play with it. The Acer has specs typical of most netbooks:
  • Windows XP
  • 1 gig of memory;
  • a 1.6-gigahertz Intel Atom processor
  • a gynormous 160-gig hard drive
  • No DVD drive (easy to buy an external DVD drive for around $90)
  • Wi-Fi wireless
  • 3 U.S.B. jacks
  • a webcam
All this and it only weighs 2.4 lbs! And I have to tell you, this little thing felt really solid and well built. I was impressed.

Anyway, turns out my Acer encounter was providential, because not two weeks later my errant teenage daughter called to inform me that her Dell laptop, (the one that was supposed to last all four years of college) was on life-support, headed for an imminent demise. I started to scream at her, then simultaneously remembered her upcoming birthday and the netbook.

I abruptly hung up the phone and proceeded to read twenty expert and consumer write ups on the Acer Aspire One. The reviews were overwhelmingly positive.

Long story short, a quick trip to the Best Buy website, and today my daughter is the proud owner of an Aspire One netbook. The Aspire was a snap to set up and she transferred 2,000 songs from her old Dell onto it using an external hard drive.

She is happy as a clam and so am I – I paid just $299 for this amazing little machine.