Business & Technology

Fourteen Days into the Venture

hustle hard workToward the end of 2015, I decided to try again in 2016 to start my own venture and to forge my own path. Originally, I planned to write a blog post each day (or every other day) chronicling the long, hard and lonely road, especially since information about the beginning of the journey is hard to come by. Everyone talks after they're successful, after they've made it and, most likely, after others hear about them and want to talk to them about what they are doing. Hardly anyone talks about the early days, before there's traction or product/market fit or paying customers or investments. But, I think those early days are some of the most important to talk about. I think it's important to be open about how shitty some days are and how much work it takes to get traction and product marketing fit. I think we really ought to talk about how deep you have to dig within yourself in order to keep going when no customers show up, when your product isn't working, when you're running out of money and when others tell you that you can't do it.

Then Why Didn't I Start the Conversation?

I don't have a good reason. I wondered what I would write about on those days where I have nothing to show for the fruits of my labors. What's there to say when I don't get the sponsorship deal, or when no one watches the stream, besides reporting that those things happened? Perhaps I would've figured what to write if I actually started writing instead of making excuses.

I understand now that not knowing what to write was a terrible reason, but better start now than never and start the conversation that I think should be had a little more often. It's a much more real conversation to have in my opinion, since success isn't overnight, no matter how much it seems to be from the outside. I also think a conversation likes this acknowledges failures and missteps as part of the process of success instead of the antitheses of success.

If All We Talk about are Winners, then What Does This Say About Losing?

Not everything is going to work. Not everyone wins. Not everyone wins every time. Not every step is a step in the right direction. This doesn't mean those steps were wrong or bad. This doesn't mean that those lonely days where no customers show up are indicative of anything personal or permanent. The days where it feels like you're banging your head against a wall are part of forging your own path, and a part of life. In hindsight, the tough moments are easier to canonize and incorporate into the larger story of success. But, on that day, without hindsight, it just sucks.

But, failures and missteps are okay. They only represent who you are if you choose to let them represent you.

So, before I can fit failures and bad days neatly into a narrative of victory, I'm going to start the conversation and document the lonely road on this venture. I know it will take a lot of hustle and hard work. I know the great things won't happen overnight.

I know a lot of people will tell my I'm crazy, that I ought to quit, that I can't do it, that it's not possible etc. Those comments are going to come. Shrugging all of that off is easier said than done. Sticking to your guns is easier said than done. I'm not writing this post and wanting to have this conversation because I'm delusional about myself and my abilities. I'm doing this, and want to do this, to showcase how hard it is not to be.

Facebook Pages Better than the Website? Fans Think So

fans prefer facebook pagesEvery Thursday, I will republish my best articles from Since Technorati redesigned its website and is under new managements, tens of thousands of articles that were previously published on the site are no longer available. I have been given explicit permission to republish my work on my own website. When talking to 1000 social media users about how they felt about liking brands on Facebook, market research firm Lab42 found that 50% of them said that the Facebook page is more useful than the website. Sure, that statistic can be interpreted to mean that social media users prefer the social media profiles of brands to the website, or that social media users just like them better. However, the key word is 'useful', and no one has yet taken the time to figure out why Facebook pages are considered more useful, or how to make one's website more useful than before.

Lab42 also found in this survey that the biggest motivators for liking a brand on Facebook were promotions/discounts, free giveaways, and customer loyalty, in that order. Brand websites rarely have the first two, and are primarily "brochureware", bland marketing jargon that's meant to sell the visitor on the product or service. Judging from the biggest motivators for liking a brand, most social media users are already sold on the brand and its product or service. On the one hand, this should make it easier for brands to learn about their customer base, since it seems that the Facebook fan base would reflect who's buying the product and service. On the other hand, Facebook fans using the pages in this manner could make it difficult for brands to up sell, or even buy at all, since it seems that most fans are only buying when there's a discount, or are just grabbing the free stuff.

This is further shown in this survey, where almost half of social media users said they liked a brand, but had no intention of buying from that brand. The reason? They only wanted free stuff (52%), or they like the product and can't afford it (46%), or they only liked the brand to help out a friend (24%). Perhaps Facebook pages are best at giving consumers the best of their world; a free product or a great coupon. So, how do brands get the best of their world, whether it be from Facebook or from the website?

The biggest thing that I would recommend is business blogging. Stop all the brochureware on your website, and put something on there that's actually for the customer and about the customer. Consider that over 44% of small businesses don't even have a website! Also consider that even though 60% of businesses have a business blog, 65% of them haven't updated in over a year! No wonder people don't find them useful! There's nothing there for them! And these statistics don't include those that do blog regularly, but only update about new products and company updates. Customers don't care about that. It's no surprise they're going to Facebook to get a free sample or a coupon. At least a free sample or a coupon gets the customer what he or she needs to solve their pain point.

The next thing to do to make your website more useful, after you have the business blog, is to create a resource center. This resource center can include white papers, ebooks, webinars, articles, free content that will actually help prospects and potential customers move through your buying process and actually consider your for something more than a discount.  The best thing about a resource center? It's free, and you can actually learn more about your prospects, what they actually need from you, all while building trust and a customer relationship. After all, the number one thing, from the Lab42 survey, that brands could do to get more likes on Facebook (and retain them)?

More giveaways!

Oh look, you have all this awesome, engaging, relevant content that's for free that you can share, content like buying guides, how-to's, tip sheets, checklists. You know, stuff that will not only help customers, but will go much farther in nabbing and retaining fans than a coupon or a free shirt.

Do those two things, and you can actually improve both your website and your Facebook page. Sounds easy enough.

What Do Small Businesses Do on Social Media?

social media small businessesEvery Thursday, I will republish my best articles from Since Technorati redesigned its website and is under new managements, tens of thousands of articles that were previously published on the site are no longer available. I have been given explicit permission to republish my work on my own website. A new survey from email marketing software firm VerticalResponse found that 43% of small businesses (100 employees or less) spend at least six hours a week on social media, with seven percent spending over 21 hours a week on Facebook, Twitter, and such. The survey also found that two-thirds of small businesses are spending more time on social media than they did a year ago, suggesting that more small businesses are either realizing or actually seeing the benefits of social media marketing.

Facebook and Twitter are still the most popular networks that small businesses are using, coming in at 90% and 70% respectively. Although LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest are touted as must-use networks in social media marketing, a majority of small businesses, according to the survey, don't use these sites at all. Of all the things small businesses could do on social media, it turns out that finding and posting content takes the most time, followed by learning and education (presumably this means learning how to use the social network, the survey isn't clear) and analyzing efforts. The least time consuming task was responding to questions.

Six hours a week is a lot, and many small businesses are struggling with the work load and the time it takes to manage multiple networks. The survey doesn't say a whole lot on how small businesses spend these six, eight, 12 hours a week, but there are good ways to spend that time. If you're spending this much time on social media, and want to be assured that you time is well spend, then here are the things that small businesses ought to be doing:

  1. Responding to Questions - This is a must, especially since there are much larger companies who ignore, and even delete, questions and responses from fans on Facebook and other networks. It's a little worrisome that small businesses spend the least amount of time on this, as it means that either there aren't questions to respond too, or questions are going unanswered for too long. If there's any engagement from fans or potential customers on social media, then always make them a top priority.
  2. Building Relationships - Surprised this wasn't on there, which means it either wasn't asked, or small businesses are treating social media too much like another avenue to push a marketing message. Think of the 50/50 rule when it comes to sharing content: 50% your content, and 50% other people's content. Yes, other people's. Retweeting, repinning, and resharing other people's stuff helps them as well as you. You provide more value to your own followers while making a connection with the person who's content you are sharing. Make sure social media is used to participate in a conversation, not just to take one over or to start one. It shows that you are listening.
  3. Analyzing Efforts - This is also a must, but analyzing your social media marketing efforts is much more than counting fans and mentions and comments. Actually, those numbers don't mean all that much. What really counts, when analyzing your social media marketing, is how much traffic social media drives to your site, how many leads are coming from social media, and how many of those leads you're turning into customers. After all, those are the things that keep businesses going. If anything, small businesses need to be measuring their success on social media. If not, there's no way to know if you're wasting your time.
  4. Defining Goals - Small businesses need to spend time figuring out what they want out of social media in the first place. These goals need to line up with the core needs of the business, and need to be more specific than "increased brand awareness" or "increased customer engagement." What's a good goal for social media? Something specific, and targeted toward the needs of the business, like "have 10% of our leads come from social media" or "have 100 people sign up for our webinar" or "get 50 more subscribers for our blog by the end of the month."

Honesty as a Competitive Advantage, Upcoming Necessity

Extreme Trust Honesty as a Competitive AdvantageEvery Thursday, I will republish my best articles from Since Technorati redesigned its website and is under new managements, tens of thousands of articles that were previously published on the site are no longer available. I have been given explicit permission to republish my work on my own website. Trust is an increasingly valuable commodity when it comes to doing business, one that some try to take advantage of with fake social media reviews and other strategies (old and new) that are meant to fool customers; however, Don Peppers and Martha Rogers Ph.D argue in their latest book it won't be long before the only successful businesses are the ones that are extremely trustworthy.

Their book, Extreme Trust: Honesty as a Competitive Advantage, says that the rising levels of transparency in society will mean that businesses will have to protect customer interests proactively. By investing in ways to preserve reputation and to build customer relationships, businesses will develop the extreme trust necessary to survive a world where the social domain and the commercial domains are constantly colliding.

"In the future, companies will have to do this because of competitive pressure," Peppers said. "If they don't do it, someone else will."

Peppers also said that the book is fundamentally about how business will change because of technology-driven innovation, and described extreme trust as the "inevitable evolution of business over the next generation or so.

We can probably think of many examples of how different companies and industries treat their customers as transactions, how they try to make money off of people instead of working with them to earn their profits. Below are some of the book's most noticeable examples:

  • Banks will soon have to stop relying on overdraft charges, because so many of them are based on simple customer error.
  • Credit card companies will have to coach customers on avoiding excessive borrowing.
  • Cell phone providers will have to help customers find the cheapest calling plans for their usage patterns.
  • Retailers will have to remind customers when a gift card or rebate card has gone unused or may be lost.

"[It's up to] companies to decide whether they understand that they have two goals now: make money this quarter, and figuring out how what they do and what they say is going to affect the long-term value of a customer," Rogers said. "Long-term value is determined today."

What makes a trustable company, versus one that will simply do what it says and follow the law? Peppers and Rogers say that a trustable company will do three things:

  1. Do Things Right
  2. Do the Right Thing
  3. Do the First Two Proactively

Customers would be willing to pay $11 more a month for a mobile phone company they actually trust," Rogers said. "[A trustable company will] keep you posted on what’s good for you about the business, and offer things that are valuable to you instead of making you search for everything from scratch."

Therefore, current tactics used to develop trust, such as fake social media reviews and black hat SEO techniques, only tarnishes a company's long-term ability to gain trust for a small-term (if any) financial gain. Even though falsehoods can happen (like someone spreading misinformation or even leaving a bad, yet real, negative review), doing things so well that loyal customers come to your defense is a much better way to go.

"Social media takes care of [a falsehood or negative review] by burying it with more accurate data," Rogers said. "There are simply not enough lawyers to take everything off the Internet."

"Customers want to be treated the way their friends treat them," Peppers said. "The real solution is social credibility. As long as you have cultivated a reputation in advanced for being trustable, people will value your business and mourn if you go out of business."

The book may be considered a must-read for anyone leading an organization, but it is also a must-read for any consumer who wants to be a consumer of trustable brands, and not just another transaction. The only way for extreme trust to be the way we do business in the future is for people to demand it now, and to take it away from those who make their money by taking advantage of their customers.

"There have been radical changes in the last five years. This is not a fad," Rogers said. "There will always be more interconnectedness and never less. This is the way we will have to compete."

As of Today, 10 Percent of Social Media Reviews Will be Fake

fake social media reviewsEvery Thursday, I will republish my best articles from Since Technorati redesigned its website and is under new managements, tens of thousands of articles that were previously published on the site are no longer available. I have been given explicit permission to republish my work on my own website. According to a recent study by tech research firm Gartner, 10 to 15 percent of social media reviews will be fake by 2014. With growing emphasis and credibility on social media as the "new word-of-mouth", its crucial that we be able to trust the opinions we find on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks.

"With over half of the Internet's population on social networks, organizations are scrambling for new ways to build bigger follower bases, generate more hits on videos, garner more positive reviews than their competitors and solicit 'likes on their Facebook pages," said Jenny Sussin, senior research analys at Gartner, in a news release.

Gartner found in this study that the nearly all of the fake reviews are coming from people who were paid to provide that positive review, whether that payment in cash, coupons, or other promotions. In 2009, the Federal Trade Commission determined that paying for positive reviews without disclosing that the reviewer had been compensated equates to deceptive advertising and would be prosecuted as such. Even so, many companies are seeking out fake reviews in the hopes of making a few more sales or getting a few more hits on the website.

How do you ensure that none of your reviews are fakes (and can be 100% trusted as a true reflection of what your customers think about you)? Here are a few tips:

  1. Don't pay for reviews - Earn those reviews, especially since the FTC is cracking down on fake reviews and even pursuing litigation with two Fortune 500 companies caught paying for fake reviews. However, it is okay to ask your customers to take the time to write a review, as long as you don't compensate them for taking a positive stance, or control what the reviewer says in anyway.
  2. Respond appropriately to the bad reviews - It's tempting to counter or to cover up those bad reviews by encouraging or paying for an onslaught of good reviews, but that course of action only shows that you're unable to improve and to take criticism as a business. Instead, note those bad reviews and make changes, perhaps even responding by saying you're going to do something about whatever was wrong. Also consider that you can't please everyone. If a reviewer just says the food was terrible, simply accept that not everyone will like the food you serve.
  3. Encourage honest reviews - There are many ways to get your current customers to write great reviews for your business without paying for them. For example, create case studies and blog posts highlighting your best customers. This way, the reviewer not only gets attention for being a reviewer and a great customer, but potential customers can honestly see and hear what your business can do. You can also let your customers know where they can write a review for you by taking control of your Yelp or Google Places page. By keeping your information on those pages up-to-date and telling your customers about them, they are more likely to go to those pages to write a review.
  4. Delete Fake Reviews - If you've paid for reviews in the past, then remove those reviews from your pages at once, or at least disclose that these reviews were paid for. Fake reviews only ruin the credibility of your business, and if you're caught with fake reviews that lack the disclosure, you could lose a lot more than your customers.

Tips and Tricks to an Attractive Job Description

attractive job description With the recession and high unemployment, it would seem that finding quality candidates would be easy. The conditions are right for an employers market, where hiring managers have the best pickings when hiring someone for a position. But, if that’s the case, then why are your pickings still below par?

The problem could be in the job description. A poorly written job description is not only a magnet for poor job candidates, but also a repellant of good job candidates. Who ends up applying for a position that’s generic, confusing, or even filled with grammatical errors and misspellings? A job hunter who isn’t paying that much attention. Make the good job candidates pay attention by “employing” a few simple tips and tricks.

  • Use present tense, action verbs: If a good resume or cover letter utilizes such verbs, shouldn’t a good job description do the same? Take a look at this horrible job description the Stand-Up Philosopher found:

The Engineer will use an interdisciplinary approach to using engineering principles that will directly affect all of the engineering work and that occurs during the development, implementation, testing and performance checking the systems for this unit.  Will be performing 2nd level maintenance for our client, including reviewing technical documentation to ensure accuracy.

Beside the fact that this description is just plain confusing, verbs like “use” and “performing” don’t paint a very clear picture of the skills necessary to do the job. If the job description doesn’t deliver a solid idea of what the job entails, and how the necessary skills are applicable, then no candidate worth hiring would consider applying in the first place. Consider how this example could be improved with verbs that actually describe the job at hand.

  • Describe a “typical” day: This doesn’t imply that there’s a strict routine to the position that must be followed. But, every job has a core set of responsibilities and duties that need to be done a regular basis. Illustrating a typical day in the job description allows the job candidate insight into the necessary job skills as well as the social aspects of the position. Here’s another example of a bad job description:


  • Bachelor's degree in business or equivalent combination of education and experience
  • Two-plus years of administrative experience
  • Microsoft Office Suite knowledge expected
  • Self starter, high attention to detail, able to juggle multiple priorities and handle confidential communications

This job description says very little about what the person would actually doing on a day-to-day basis. Will the person be working with Excel, Powerpoint, Word, Entourage, or a combination of the four? Should a candidate highlight his/her previous administrative experience, or emphasize his/her excellent telephone skills? The job description doesn’t provide any clues, meaning the job candidate won’t take the time to tailor the application, or apply at all.

  • Outline the goals: No one likes a dead end job, so end the mystery by putting the goals to achieve right in the job description. Once a candidate is hired, that person will be expected to go for those goals. So, why not let candidates know outright what those goals are, and maybe attract candidates that might actually be able to achieve them? It gives candidates something to highlight in their applications, while giving hiring managers something to discuss in the interview and a benchmark to use when selecting someone to hire.
  • Update them from time to time: Not only is an outdated job description misleading to the new hire that’s doing something that wasn’t specified in the description, or the interview, but also an outdated job description doesn’t provide a good image of the company. Quality candidates don’t apply to positions with companies that aren’t professional at first glance. Also, a job description that doesn’t adequately describe the job could lead a company to legal troubles if something happens on the job, or a candidate files a discrimination complaint.

Keep in mind that the job description doesn’t end at “Your Hired!” Job descriptions have been used for many other purposes, such as job evaluation and analysis, compensation, career development, and even as evidence in court. Especially in the last scenario, having a poorly written job description could mean more hassle than having to sort through a ton of mediocre candidates. Overall, hiring managers should take the time to put together a quality job description. It’s the least they can do for the candidates who take the time to put together a quality application.

Guide to Small Business Phone System Brands

small business phone systemsThere are many phone system brands and companies out there. In fact, there are no fewer than 50 different companies out there that provide business phone systems. Of course, there are the big, well-known brands like Panasonic, Cisco, Samsung, and Toshiba. Surely, they are good brands and can provide you with a good business phone system. But, are these systems really the best ones for small business? What do some of the smaller brands have to offer? This is a short guide to five business phone system brands that are recommended for small businesses. All of them are smaller than the big guys previously mentioned, but that doesn’t mean that their product or service is small on utility.


Formerly known as Packet8, 8x8 offers a hosted phone service solution, using the latest VoIP technology. All services are delivered directly over the Internet, so features can be accessed by employees who are in the office, traveling, or working remotely. So, 8x8 would be a good vendor for small business that has traveling or work-from-home employees, rather than one where employees need to be at the office regularly. With all hosted solutions, you’ll need a fast and reliable Internet connection to ensure that business demands are met for phone usage as well as other activities such as Web and email usage. The good thing about an 8x8 business phone system is that you aren’t sacrificing some of the features of a traditional phone system, like personalized voicemail, call forwarding, and three-way calling.


As with 8x8, Nextiva offers a hosted solution using VoIP technology. A Nextiva business phone system is better for a small business that would like a hosted phone service, but might not use the system all that much. Nextiva offers some very low rates – but for limited calling each month. Nextiva is also a good choice for microbusinesses, companies with fewer than 10 employees, as the three plans Nextiva offers are for one, four, and eight users. Features include holiday and after-hours greetings, voicemail to email, and number portability.


Vocalocity also offers a hosted solution, but is also one of the most customizable business phone system vendors on this list. You’re cost will depend on how many features, and which features, you would like. Small businesses can choose to incorporate mobile phones into the Vocalocity business phone system as well. Optional features include call conferencing, call recording, and paging groups (where you can broadcast messages to your employees through the business phone system). Another good feature is that each phone comes with its own phone number, instead of just an extension.


If you have a broadband connection, you can take advantage of Aptela's VoIP service and get big business productivity and mobility solutions—without the big business price tag. If you’re considering Aptela, the company offers a 30-minute test drive of their business phone system. Two great features about the Aptela business phone system include the support of green initiatives and administrative functions such as loudspeaker paging, password management, and call history. Payment starts at $25 a month per person, but a minimum of $50 per month is needed before your business can sign up for a calling plan.


Offering both hosted and server-based solutions, Fonality has competitive pricing for the value. If you have over 20 employees, it’s recommended to go with Fonality’s server-based solution, although this solution requires more up-front costs and ongoing maintenance by your own employees, which can take attention away from core business needs (unless you already have a robust IT staff). Besides that, Fonality’s business phone system options are very flexible and have a per-person monthly payment that’s better suited for smaller businesses. A nice feature about Fonality is that the company provides detailed reporting for all extensions and search filters, in case you’re suspicious about your employees making personal calls while on the job.

Take Away

Purchasing that small business phone system can be a difficult process, especially since there are so many aspects of which to keep track. The number of users, the different features, hosted versus server, all of that makes a difference in pricing and in which vendor would be the best fit for your small business. Certainly, this guide isn’t meant to be an exhaustive one to what’s out there. But, it’s a start in navigating these complicated lines.

A Few Places to Get Your Tech Essentials (For Less!)

tech essentialsSure, your business may not necessarily need tablets or the latest mobile phone models to operate. But, there are some technologies that are essential to running your business. You probably need at least one computer or laptop, a phone system, and a quality web presence. All that costs money to purchase and to maintain, but you couldn’t possibly run your business without them. Fortunately, there are a few places to go where you can get your business tech essentials for less than what you’d normally have to pay if you went to a retailer. Here are a few of those wonderful places of savings:

Newegg is an electronics discount website with everything from computer hardware to cameras to home theater equipment. If you are okay with a refurbished laptop or desktop, than this is the place to go. The great thing about Newegg is that many of the products come with user reviews, so you’re still able to compare and to evaluate products without having to go to a store. Newegg also has tons of daily deals and additional promotions so going on, so you’re sure to find a bargain on this site. It’s also a little more reliable than going through an online wanted ads site like Craigslist. A site very similar to Newegg is

Daily Deal Sites

There are plenty of them out there that cater specifically to small businesses, such as RapidBuyr or OfficeArrow. The deals include much more than tech products, so you’ll be able to find discounts on everything else a small business might need, from virtual assistant services to a social media book to accounting services. These sites are free to sign up for, and OfficeArrow offers a lot more than daily deals. They also have articles and templates on every business topic and task imaginable.

Service Providers

If you already have a service provider in place, say for data storage or your phone system, you may be able to find a discount if you simply ask. Some providers have specials for startups and small businesses. You also may be able to save money if you use one provider for a variety of different services. In other words, bundle services. For example, 37Signals offers four web-based apps for small businesses: Highrise (customer relation management), Campfire (group chat), Backpack (internal communications), and Basecamp (project management). To get all four through 37signals only costs $99 a month, when getting all four through four separate providers could cost double that. If you don’t have any service providers in place yet, make sure to ask how the company can help you.

As a new business, you certainly aren’t in a place to be settling on any price. It’s in your best interest to find the best prices, since money saved means money that you can invest in other aspects of your business, such as marketing or hiring staff. You’re already going to have to work for the money, so let the money do some work for you by taking a look at ways to get your tech essentials for less.

A Short Guide to Online Browsers

guide to online browsersTo PC users, Internet Explorer is the online web browser to use. For Mac users, it’s Safari. After all, those are the ones that come pre-installed to those respective operating systems. But, after a conversation with my brother, I learned that not everyone realizes that there are more Internet browsers out there than just those two. There are alternatives that can be downloaded for free, providing a more up-to-date and possibly a better online experience that what you’re getting out of your pre-installed browser. Here are the other three browsers that you may, or may not, have heard of. Each is completely free to download.

Google Chrome

Okay, so you’ve probably heard of Google Chrome (hopefully). One of the most useful features of the Chrome web browser is that the address bar also serves as a search bar. So, just type in your keyword and automatically pops up the Google results. Chrome also comes with the Chrome Web Store, so you can add many of your favorite and most-used apps right to your browser. This is great if you decide to use any one of the many online services it out there, whether it’s a productivity suite or online accounting or file storage. Google Chrome doesn’t have as many themes as Mozilla Firefox (see below), however, I don’t find Chrome to be as buggy as Firefox. Besides, the lack of themes is made up for with the amount of personalization you can get with the app store.


Based out of Norway, Opera is an up and coming browser that has several useful add-ons to boost your online experience. These add-ons include Opera Mail, Opera Link (which allows you to access your bookmarks from anywhere), Opera Turbo (great for slow connections), and Opera Widgets, which is similar to Chrome’s web store. Opera also has a lot of little features that the other two don’t, like the ability to rearrange the layout of toolbar, prevent a tab from closing (we’ve all done that accidentally), or the ability to stack tabs. You can also save sets of tabs, so if you’re going online to do one thing, you can have it open up the sites you need automatically. If you need to do something else, have Opera open another set of tabs.

Mozilla Firefox

Of the three, Mozilla Firefox is the most popular browser out there. And it’s easy to see why that is. Firefox has, by far, the most themes and plugins out of the three browsers. You can give the sites that you always have open, like your email or your social networks, a permanent home on your browser. Firefox also comes with an integrated web search, so you’re not necessarily stuck searching on Google if you don’t want to. You can choose to search on Bing or Yahoo right from the search bar. I was an avid Firefox user for the longest time before I switched to Chrome. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I got tired dealing with the “unresponsive script” problem.

When was the last time you saw your online web browser as just the program you need to use the web? Well, we all use the web differently, so why not make the browser fit your needs so you don’t have to waste time clicking around? We are spending more and more time on the Internet, so make that time as useful and as personal as possible.

When Piggybacking on Trending Hashtags Goes Wrong

Twitter marketingWhen it comes to social media sites, Twitter is in the top three with Facebook and YouTube. Anyone who's serious about promoting a business, product, service, brand, etc. knows that Twitter is a powerful tool for advertising. One great feature that Twitter has is hashtags. These are clickable words, phrases or sentences that begin with the pound (#) sign. They're great for organizing content and following real-time discussions on a particular topic.

However, not everyone recognizes the power of hashtags when it comes to marketing. They can help you reach out to users outside of your current set of followers. They can also help brand your product or service in a unique way. Many companies and organizations have benefited from the attention generated by their hashtags that became popular enough to fall under Twitters "Trending Topics" section.

But you don’t have to wait for your own hashtags to become a trending topic. One popular tactic marketers do is to use trending hashtags to drive attention to their own product or service.

A word of warning: Piggybacking on trending hashtags, when not done right, can bring negative attention that can hurt whatever it is that you're promoting. Look at two of these well-known hashtag mishaps and learn from their mistakes.

1) After the recent Colorado theater shootings, users went on Twitter to express their horror and sorrow over the tragedy. #Aurora quickly became a trending topic as people posted tweets relating to the incident. Then this tweet appeared:

highjacking trending hashtags