Rob Cottingham's blog

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Noise to Signal looks back

Social media in 2010: a cartoon year in review

The year that started with Angry Birds and wrapped up with Angry Delicious Users is finally over.

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What's missing from the Vancouver Police Twitter feed?

Last week, the Vancouver Police Department launched their Twitter presence with a day-long marathon of tweeting the calls that came into the force. It was a success, rocketing them from zero to well over 1,800 followers that afternoon.

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How to get your Wikipedia entry changed... without breaking the rules

Wikipedia logo

It's come up three or four times at workshops I've conducted in the past few weeks: people who work for organizations with an entry in Wikipedia, wondering whether and how they can edit it - if, for instance, misinformation creeps in. (I'm assuming you're not trying to sanitize your entry.

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A little book of big ideas

Open Community offers social web approaches for associations (and more!)

My friends Maddie Grant and Lindy Dreyer have just launched Open Community, "a little book of big ideas for associations navigating the social web". (I was fortunate enough to get to do cartoons for the book, which meant I got a sneak peek – and I was impressed with both the scope of their vision and the practical suggestions they have for their readers.)

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Conversation: the ultimate analytic

Can't get an answer from Google Analytics? Ask your users.

I had something of a happy mystery yesterday: a huge surge in traffic on one of my Noise to Signal cartoons with no apparent reason why.

That's the kind of mystery I dearly love to solve. Not just because I'm nosey, but also because I'd like to thank whoever's responsible. So I donned my deerstalker, broke out the virtual magnifying glass and started an investigation.

I solved that mystery... but discovered something a lot more important in the process.

Here's how I proceeded:

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To the barricades!

Defend your email inbox from a Facebook Groups barrage

Facebook's announcement yesterday of a new Groups feature caught a lot of people by surprise.

Even more surprising, though, was the discovery that you could be signed up for a Group without knowing about it - and that your inbox would promptly start filling up with notifications every time someone posted, well, pretty much anything.

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Use WordPress.com or Gravatars? You'll want to fill out your profile - now

If you're a WordPress.com user, you've come across Gravatars before. They're the avatar, or user image, associated with your account, and they show up next to your comments - not just on your own blog, but on any WordPress.com blog... and on any other blog or forum that has Gravatars enabled. (The word is short for "globally recognized avatar", and there are plugins available for Drupal, Moveable Type and even the venerable GeekLog.)

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Ep. 23: the don't-try-to-build-Facebook episode

Podcast: Strategy for a small organization

We're coming up to the fifth anniversary of the Social Signal blog. So it's fitting that this Bedtime with Rob and Alex podcast looks at the heart of what we do: developing strategies for participation.

And this time out, we're looking at strategies for smaller organizations (both in budget and membership). We cover:

 

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You have 160 characters. Make them count.

What you don't need in your Twitter biography

Nothing concentrates the mind, the saying goes, like the prospect of being executed in the morning. When you only have a few hours left, you want to make them count.

But substitute space for time, and give people a 160-character limit on summing up their life's story (or even just the past 525,600 minutes), and they start adding the oddest things.

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Ask not for whom the bell pings...

Apple could be the company that takes down Ticketmaster

Apple's new Ping social network lets you follow artists, find out what your friends are listening to, and even find out when your favorites will be playing near you. With one click, you can buy tickets.

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Work Smarter with Evernote

Get more out of Evernote with Alexandra Samuel's great new ebook, the first in the Harvard Business Press Work Smarter with Social Media series!

Available on Amazon, iTunes and HBR.

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