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Chat Freely, Simply.

Love chatting! It’s like a dirty little secret. Not many people of a certain age or older will own up to a lot of chatting but there’s a reason why so many interfaces – Yahoo IM, AIM, Messenger, Facebook, et cetera – exist. Someone out there is doing it. A lot of it. Thanks to internet 2.0 (soon to be 3.0!), we chatterers don’t have to confine ourselves to a single provider, or spread ourselves thin using several pop-outs at any given time.

We can use all of the chat operators we want with just one of any of these chatter boxes. And since everyone is at facebook, you might as well be able to chat with your friends, without even logging into facebook.

Digsby is the first 3rd party messenger to support facebook’s chat feature. It is a cross-platform messenger available for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. No hacks or plugins are required. Just register for an Digsby account and login with it. Once you are logged in, click Add Account. Now in the Accounts tab, click Add IM Account and select Facebook Chat from the list

Pidgin is an opensource 3rd party IM that has a large user base but sadly till today there is no official support for facebook chat. The only way to connect with Facebook chat is through a plugin. Grab the Facebook Chat Plugin for Pidgin and with it you can log into the Facebook servers, grab the buddy list, send/receive messages, add/remove friends, receive notifications, search for Facebook friends and set your Facebook status.

Once you have installed this plugin, you will find Facebook listed among the supported IMs.

Adium is a free opensource IM for Mac OS X. The latest version(1.3.3) has a built-in support for facebook chat, just login with your facebook account and you are good to go.

If you are only interested in using the facebook chat and not all the other chat funcions, you can try the Facebook Chat Standalone.

If you’re looking for the app that does it all, look for Trillian. Chatty interoperability on just about every device I have (not the Atari, sadly).

Download Your Facebook History

So much chatter about safety and security these days! The FDA’s putting pictures of cancer patients on the packs of cigarettes; the TSA is feeling up everyone who won’t allow them to see them naked-ish on an X-ray; and if Facebook isn’t in the news for getting trial defendants or employees in hot water, you can crawl out from under that rock now…or maybe you’re thinking of going back under that rock.

Maybe you’re thinking of letting Big Brother, I mean Facebook go and all of your friends are moving to one of the various new or experimental social networks. Maybe you’re wondering what those applications are really collecting when you clicked “Allow” to take that “What kind of smelly soap user are you?” quiz. Maybe you’re just getting weary of having all your history out on Facebook. Either way, it’s a great idea to Download Your Facebook History and see, well, what you’ve been up to lately. Here’s what you do:

Steps

Log on to Facebook

Click on “Settings, Account Settings”

Click on “Learn More” next to “Download Your Information”

Download Your Information Settings Section

Type your password in to verify you have access to your account.

Enter Your Password to Download Information

You will then get an email sent back to you. This will be sent to the email address you use to log in to Facebook. It came to me in about 5 minutes.

Downloading your information to your computer

Now, it’s up to you. You can host this information somewhere else, where it won’t be shared with the world, if that’s what you want to do. You can host it on your own website. You can just keep it for your records.

Once you get all this information, if you want to “start over”, you can deactivate your account/delete your account knowing you have all your photos, videos and comments.

The Joy of Blogging

Blogging is so much fun!! Some people blog for money, others blog to promote their business (such as blogging for hard money California), some just blog to have fun, some are still asking, why blog in the first place?

When surfing the web, sometimes we run across websites by people we know and admire, like my friend Adam’s post on the National Finals Rodeo and we don’t agree with everything they write. Being a Vegetarian and Animal Right’s Activist,  I turn a blind eye when I object and take in the content that aligns with my values.

Sometimes when I’m thinking of different things to blog about, I change my thoughts, change the order of my words and oftentimes kill a blog entry all together. It feels very similar to throwing around different remodeling ideas when someone is redesigning their home, bathroom or dining room.

When you set up your blog you should choose a very difficult to use password so people cannot hack your site. Every month or two you should think to yourself, “Should I change my password or not?” If you have to ask, you should probably do it. Sometimes you inherit a username and password – against your choice – something of an arranged marriage – which you feel wedded to forever.  Unlink arranged marriages, you do not have to stay with your username or you password. I change my password every 2-3 months for all my major blogs and sites.

Now go out and enjoy, “The Joy of Blogging.”

Free Internet Marketing Help You Will Actually Use and Enjoy

Social Media: Get it together.

So you made a Facebook page for your business. Good start. How many leads have you received from the Facebook page? Figuring that out can be more difficult than setting up a Facebook page. Now  that so many businesses have a page, it’s even more difficult for your unique imprint stand out there. But it is a good start. Really. It shows you understand how crucial the social media scene is for optimizing your business. If you’re still not convinced that social media is as crucial as everone claims, you must watch this video: Social Media Revolution

Good marketing shouldn’t be as hard to evaluate. You pay someone some money, they help generate business, then (hopefully) they give you  report, where you see your investment pay off on a spread sheet. Hm. How is that working out for you?

There are so many options for social media. Which platform to choose from? Facebook – good. Twitter – good. Blogosphere – good. MySpace – has its uses for lots of things and is not the “Internet’s abandoned step-child” that everyone claims it is. (You saw the video, right?) Yelp, E-pinions, Angie’s List – all good. That’s a lot of platforms, all unique and their own. So, which one are you going to go with?

Wish it were as easy as choosing one, but you need all of them. ALL of them. And even though signing in and updating your status is simple, managing ALL those possible lead generators is not as simple. If you put one person in charge of it all, which some companies do with an intern or midmanagement employee, you risk the inefficiency of distraction, or worse, an inaccurate portrayal of your company’s mission or presence (i.e. bad PR). What you really need is to “get found.” Show up in absorbing blogs and threads. Seem more important to search-engines. Is your content valuable? Are you gaining clients with your social media or wasting time?

Hubspot, a great Social Media Marketing Organization, sorts all of this out for you with the easiest to follow format possible:  free webinars.

If you’re on Facebook, you can like Hubspot for all kinds of other free help: tips, blogs, videos and links galore! (That in itself will help you feel like your time on FB is well spent!)

Free Facebook Seminar – April 9th – for best Facebook Story – post it here – http://ping.fm/OWjk0 . Winner announced Wed – 5 pm