10 social sites, posts and tools worth checking out

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. My Twitter stream is my RSS.  Below is a compilation of sites that make me better at what I do. They cover the gamut of posts, tools and resources that someone new to social media or not, should investigate and bookmark and then share with others who might benefit.

1) This first post title 30 top blogs for social media updates is pretty good, simply because there were a few blogs (not many) that I did not know about. As well, the post also contained some links to other worthy posts.

2) If You Care About Search, You Must Care About Social Media and I do. This post rocks it contains video interviews with Vanessa Fox-pay attention to her video, she brings up a lot of solid valid points about search and social- As well as Lee Odden who stresses that you cannot ignore the intersection of search and social.

3) Check out the rankings of the Big Money Facebook 50 of the best brands utilizing Facebook. How many are you fans of?

4) A couple of weeks ago Shel Israel did an interview with E-consultancy promoting his new book Twitterville. If you don’t know who Shel is, Google his name. Pay attention to the examples Shel mentions in the interview.

5) Neoformix is a cool data visualization site, which for me helps in dumbing things down for yours truly so that I can sometimes understand them better.

6) Check out the 11 players in this post on the  brief history of social network enterprise collaboration tools How many did you know about?

7) Sally Falkow is really a smart person, she recently cranked a pretty sweet slide deck

8. I’m a big fan of the Inbound Marketing University (IMU) they offer free marketing retraining programs for marketing professionals—as well as marketers between jobs—looking to gain new skills to get ahead in the competitive workforce.

9) Here’s a quick one, How popular is your website in the web 2.0 world?

10) Lastly I thought this was cool, monitor Twitter lists for keywords with Listimonkey

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The ROI of competitive intelligence

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Rachel Happe is hosting this weeks #socialmedia session. I bring her up for a reason, which you’ll soon see. For those of you that are unaware of what #socialmedia is, I will quickly explain and then get to my point. Every Tuesday at Noon EST, Jason Breed of Neighborhood America and myself host a one hour Twitter session around the business of social media. Every week we have a different host to moderate  a session wrapped around some of the hottest social media issues revolving around business. They’re job? To challenge and question and probe participants to reach higher in their assumptions about what social media is.  The list of people that have hosted over the past few months is like a who’s who of social media practitioners. They include Jason Falls, Geoff Livingston, Toby Bloomberg, Lee Odden, Mack Collier, Danny Brown, David Alston and Beth Harte, to name a few.

Now more to my point. In one of Rachel’s recent posts on her new project blogsite The Community Roundtable, which I highly suggest you check out, she does a snap shot  view of how community managers use Twitter. She highlites  Connie Bensen, Dirk Shaw, Guy Martin, and herself. In each case, we see how each person manages to monitor the twit streams in their space. In every case, they all manage to monitor the sandbox or boxes in which they play. Why? Because it gives them more information, knowledge and data. And the best part, it’s free and for the most part passive.

Call it competitive intelligence or call it consumer intelligence, call it whatever intelligence you want; but don’t dismiss the value of this information. On the surface it may not deliver the troika that I constantly talk about when talking about hard ROI in social media- make money, save money, or increase equity but if I were going to place a value on competitive intelligence I would say, to use a few sports analogies- It’s the 6th man in basketball, the utility club in golf, the setter in volleyball, the pitcher with the rubber arm in baseball, or the slotback in football. Simply put, don’t underestimate or discount the value of competitive intelligence.

To not take advantage of competitive intelligence that is freely available is more like giving the competition a constant headstart. Or better yet, if you are a hitter in baseball, you’re starting with a strike before you even step in the batters box.

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10 websites to get you started in 2009

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In the new year its all about doing what we do better, streamlining it and being more effective, here is a list of websites and blog posts that just might help you get that ball rolling.

Lee Odden whom I respect very much has just posted an article about 6 social search engines. The great thing about this, is that I have not heard of any of these before and I love when there are new shiny things out there that might make what we do better. Let me know what you think.

Contrary to how some of you might use Twitter or better yet, the way you add followers, I like to check out who’s following me before I follow them back. With that being said, Taly Weiss started following me the other day, and as I’m wont to do, I checked out her bio and then checked out her  blog site, Trendspotting, This site has so much cool data that it can only help to shape your opinions to make you smarter. I’m glad we found each other.

So staying on the topic of Twitter, if you don’t know what Mr. Tweet is yet, I’d suggest you investigate. Do so at your own risk since it helps you determine who you should follow. You could end up using it all day. But even better, check out Mr. Tweet’s blog too.

And while you’re at it, read this article about the 10 ways that twitter will be changing blog design in 2009. I’m not sure I totally agree with it, but you can definitely see how Twitter is weaving it’sw ay into the fabric of what do online.

I haven’t used this yet but at $139 a year for online  computer and technical support, it isn’t a bad deal. Although iYogi led me to think it was a yoga site.

Here’s a great list of the up and coming companies of  the 2009 Social CRM/CRM 2.0 Space, maybe one of them might help you or your company?

Profilactic is a social media aggregator/lifestreaming service that pulls together just about everything you and your friends create online, it currently supports 190 social sites.

I came across Ennect somehow somewhere, maybe one of its web marketing components  might work for you?

A very good friend of mine Paul Chaney writes a great blog, check out what his 4 goal words are for 2009 and then go check out the company Paul works for Bizzuka

Ok, so now you have 10 sites or blog posts that can jump start 2009. You see if we can’t share the resources that we bookmark, then how else are we going to get better at what we do? I need to rely on you to help me get better. What sites or blogs would you suggest or recommend?

The top 10 blogs to read in 2009

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Yep add my blog post as one of those end of year “lists’. But as I’ve stated, I’m going to scale back what I read. I’m going to hone in on quality. With that being said here is my list with reasons why. They also are in no particular order either.

  1. Paul Chaney’s Conversational Media Marketing blog always has an interesting post or content. It’s light, it’s a good read and it’s insightful.
  2. Shannon Paul’s Very Official Blog is always in the sweet spot. Her stuff is short, generally, always to the point, and it resonates on many levels.
  3. Lee Odden’s Online Marketing Blog is a no brainer. It’s updated daily and it’s chock full of content that makes you better at what you do. Even if you don’t do “it”, it’s worth reading.
  4. Chris Brogan is our Grand Poobah”. Now I know he’s taken hits lately but look, Chris gives away 10 times more than he takes, and thus he should be a blog that you check in on from time to time. He’s a content creating fool.
  5. Valeria Maltoni true to her tag line, “connects her ideas with people”, and will make you think. When I read her stuff, that’s what happens. Her blog is another that I dip into every once in a while for perspective. She’s current, always on point and she’s eloquent.
  6. I like the Ignite Social Media Blog but it might be because it’s very vertical for me. I’m entitled to one or two of these, and this is one of them.
  7. Ok, so something about Joseph Jaffe makes me want to read his stuff. It’s funny usually, and underneath it all, there’s generally some sort of marketing theme or message.
  8. Beth Harte is one smart cookie. She says it in a straight shootin way. She’s respected, she’s connected and she knows all things marketing.  You will love her perspective.
  9. Brian Solis is a good read, he churns out content, it’s not over your head, it’s current and it’s useful. Boom.
  10. Mashable is the source or the site you would go to if you needed information, if you need updates and if you could only go to one site. This is it. Check it out.

Honorable Mentions

Here are 10 more that I read because  they are prolific in cranking out content that is in tune with the issues of marketing, PR,  social media, and life. You didn’t think I could just read 10 blogs a day did you? Well neither will you, not with this much quality out there!

  1. Ari Herzog
  2. Liz Strauss
  3. David Armano
  4. Peter Kim
  5. Jeremiah Owyang
  6. Mack Collier
  7. Amber Naslund
  8. Adam Cohen
  9. Gavin Heaton
  10. Ken Burbary

Like I said, it’s quality over quantity, though all of these people churn out some pretty good quantities of content. I could only hope to do the same.  I look forward to continued learning from all of them.