Close
Close

ProBlogger is Banned from StumbleUpon

banned-stumbleuponThis story has been updated at the bottom of this post.

This morning a number of readers have emailed or tweeted me to let me know that when they try to bookmark a post on ProBlogger that it leads them to a page saying that ProBlogger has been banned from StumbleUpon (thaks to @Fussypants on Twitter who was first).

You can see a screen capture of the page here – subtle isn’t it!?:

Picture 2.png

The page says that we’ve either been banned for abusing the service or have been asked for the site not to be included.

I can tell you that it was not the 2nd option (and if it had of been I would be pretty upset to see it presented as ‘banned’).

I’ve sent off an email using Stumbleupon’s contact form to ask for more information on this – but to be honest I’m pretty shocked and a little angry at this.

I can’t think of any way that I’ve abused StumbleUpon and if I had I would have thought that they’d have banned me as a user of it as well or instead of banning my URL.

I’ve got two theories as to why I may have been banned

1. ProBlogger does get a reasonable amount of traffic from StumbleUpon and perhaps the powers at be at SU think I’ve manipulated the system to get it. This is not the case and I’d suggest that perhaps I get more traffic from SU than some other sites because:

  • I’ve written about StumbleUpon many times. Writing about any bookmarking site tends to get people who use that site to bookmark those posts
  • I write to an audience who use social media a lot – ProBlogger readers are a very social media savvy lot and probably bookmark more than the general web user.

2. My recent social media love-in and list of bloggers who use StumbleUpon might have been interpreted abuse.

Perhaps I should have checked with SU before running that social media love-in but my motivations for doing it were not abusive. All I was hoping to do was to build community here on ProBlogger and give readers an opportunity to connect with one another in mediums other than here on this blog.

If anything I thought it would promote and build traffic on the social media sites that we developed lists for. If SU don’t want bloggers to use their service and don’t want sub communities within their user-base then this is their prerogative – but I’m a little put out that as someone who has actively promoted and used their service and even encouraged my readers to advertise on them that they simply banned me.


Some articles I’ve published on StumbleUpon for bloggers include:


I’m also a little angry that people voting for my posts get led to a page that accuses me as the owner of this site of abusing their service. If that’s not a slur against my character then I’m not sure what is. If this upsets you I’d encourage you to Stumble a ProBlogger page, click the ‘contact us’ link and let them know what you think (that’s what they’ve asked for on the page anyway).

Dear StumbleUpon

I am obviously feeling a little put out by you banning my blog from your service.

I do love StumbleUpon and hope that you’ll reconsider your decision and I’d love to hear from you with how I can remedy any actions that I might have inadvertently taken that don’t fit with your terms and conditions.

update – just heard from StumbleUpon’s Community Manager (who I emailed) – he’s also commented his email in comments below. We’re going to work on sorting this out and then I’ll post about the results in the coming days so we can all learn a thing or two about why this happened and how we can avoid it happening to others. Fingers crossed that this is resolved soon.

update 2 – 1 hour and 44 minutes after I posted this post I’m no longer banned from StumbleUpon. I put this down to you – my amazing readership who reacted with emails, Diggs, Tweets and more. I’ve never seen first hand what a blog community can achieve like this so quickly. Now if only we could pull ourselves together and work so hard to do something that REALLY matters like doing something about poverty or the environment…. :-)

update 3 – Check out this post that I’ve written the full story of how I got banned and unbanned from StumbleUpon in under two hours.

Add These Plurk Users as Your Friends

Today the Social Media Love-In here at ProBlogger continues with a list of 145 bloggers who use Plurk.

So far we’ve presented you with bloggers who use Digg, some that use StumbleUpon and a lot of them who use Twitter. Today’s list is smaller than the others but I think it is just as worthwhile as Plurk has become a key part of my daily social media interactions and is a place of wonderfully rich conversation and networking.

As usual – if you didn’t get your profile in the list – all is not lost because these 145 profiles are a great place to start and you can benefit from adding them as they’re a great bunch of people.

Hundreds of Bloggers to Interact with On Digg and StumbleUpon

It’s time to release into the wild another two of our Social Media Love-In lists – this time it’s all about social bookmarking.

The opportunities for collaboration and cooperation on sites like Digg and StumbleUpon are amazing. They can be powerful tools with the potential to drive significant traffic to a blog.

One of the keys that I’ve found to doing this is to have a good base of friends on the sites. As a result the following two lists could be quite significant.

Didn’t make it on the lists?

Unfortunately we were hit so hard with people submitting their social media profiles that we could only take submissions for 24 hours – however all is not lost if you missed out for two reasons:

  1. I’m hoping to do this again (it won’t be for a few weeks as this has taken a lot of work to compile)
  2. If you befriend the above people you can still benefit. I find that when I befriend someone on a site like Digg or StumbleUpon that it often comes back to me with the other person friending me. This is less so on SU where there’s a limit to friends (200 last time I looked) but there are plenty of opportunities for collaboration even if you’re not on these lists.

Keep in mind – these people are bloggers – they’re influencers – they’re a part of sites that are incredibly powerful and networking with them can be a powerful thing.

PS: don’t forget our list of 538 Twitter using bloggers.

Technorati Tags: , ,

Twitter for Beginners – 5 Things to Do as a New Twitter User

Yesterday I added all 538 Twitter users that submitted their details in our Social Media Love In. It took me a couple of hours to do – but I’m glad I did it because already there have been some wonderful conversations emerge.

As I was adding new people to follow I noticed that there were a real range of people in the list. There were Twitter users with thousands of subscribers and others with 20 or so.

Among the list there were quite a few who had literally just started using Twitter in the last 3 days (they’d started because of the Love-In itself).

I’ve had a number of these people contact me to ask me where to begin as a new Twitter user. As a medium it can be a little overwhelming to know how to use it – so I thought I’d put together this list of things to do as a new Twitter User (this is definitely pitched at the beginner).

update: Check out my new Blog TwiTip for more Twitter Tips.

1. Work Out Why You Want to Use It

One of the key things to do early on is to work out what your goal is. It could take a little while to work this out but the sooner you nail down what you’re going to use twitter for the better. There’s no right or wrong with how to use Twitter – your focus might be:

  • to use it on a personal level to share what you’re doing with real life friends and family
  • to build up you and your blog’s profile in your niche
  • to unwind and have fun with new friends
  • to build up your network in a niche

The list could go on (and it could include multiple goals) – however knowing them up front will help you as you explore how to use it.

2. Start Tweeting

One of the things that I noticed yesterday adding all 538 twitter users is that a number of them had only ‘tweeted’ once or twice (and a couple had never tweeted at all). I asked one person why this was and they said that they wanted to build their follower numbers up before they started using it.

The problem with this thinking is that one of the best ways to build your Twitter network is to be active. Your Tweets are your best advertisement for people to follow you – if you don’t have any (or many) what reason do people have to follow you?

So start updating your Twitter account. Don’t just write about anything – remember that every Tweet you make can either take you closer to or further away from your Twitter goals.

3. Start Following Others

I spoke to one new Twitter user yesterday who told me that the ‘Love-In’ had brought them over 100 new followers – but that they’d increased this even further by finding other interesting people to follow herself.

This user had discovered the power of adding followers on Twitter. She’d invested time into seeking out other twitter users who were Tweeting interesting stuff.

This process is a bit of an experiment and involves following people and then seeing if their tweets ‘resonate’ with you. Sometimes it means you’ll follow someone for a while and then unfollow them – but you’ll eventually find a group of people that you enjoy conversing with. Which leads me to my next point….

4. Get Interactive

OK – so you know why you’re using Twitter, you’re actually tweeting, you’re following what others are tweeting – the time now is to start reaching out to others and getting a conversation going.

This happens on a couple of levels:

Firstly it’s about writing things that others will want to interact with. The best way to do this is to ask a question. People are wired to reply to questions so start asking some. Keep them relevant to your goals and be willing to reply to people’s answers.

Secondly it’s important to respond to what other people are saying. The ‘reply’ feature on Twitter is key and should be used regularly, otherwise your use of Twitter will be quite one sided.

After a while you’ll find that the conversation becomes quite natural as you get to know others that you mutually follow and track what they’re doing, what your common interests are etc.

The beauty of being as interactive as possible with other Twitter users is that you’re talking to them in public and you’ll find your other followers and their other followers will chime in and make the conversation a little more multi-dimensional – it’s a great way of finding new friends to follow also.

5. Don’t Spam

Another thing that I noticed happening with a few of those that I added yesterday is that the only thing they were using Twitter for was to promote their own content. While it’s possible to do this I wouldn’t advise it. I do promote my posts on Twitter – but I try to balance them with other natural and organic conversation as well.

Another tip is to not just promote your own links, promote others. Keep them on topic and interesting and your followers will thank you for the links that you suggest.

But Wait – there’s more…

There’s a lot more that can be said about using Twitter – but I want to keep this as basic as possible for those just getting into the medium. Start with these five basic things, work on them for a week or so and then you’ll start discovering your own way.

For more reading on using Twitter you might also like to read my previous posts on the topic:

Follow These Twitter Users – They’re Just Like You

ProBlogger reader – I’d like to introduce you to some new friends – around 700 of them (and counting).

Over the weekend, on a whim, I started the ProBlogger Social Media Love-In as a way of linking you as readers of this blog together via social media. In that post I invited you to submit your social media profiles in comments and then to start be-friending one another.

The response was swift and overwhelming with around 700 people participating.

Reports started tricking in of people getting a lot of new friends and making all kinds of useful connections. The ProBlogger community spun out to all kinds of places as people began to connect and start working together on sites like Twitter, Plurk, Facebook, Myspace, Pownce, StumbleUpon, Digg and more.

As I began to watch what was happening I began to ask myself how I could make the long and scattered list of profiles more helpful. Some readers were content to surf down the comments list and start adding friends – but could the information be presented better?

I got in touch with Lara and asked her if she wanted a couple of days work to organize the lists. She agreed and today we’re rolling out a group of Twitter users (the most popular profile link left).

Lara has created a page of 538 Twitter profiles here.

Yes – that’s 538 ProBlogger readers who want to connect, work together and learn from one another.

As I was scanning down the list today it struck me that almost everyone on this list has a blog and as a result the collective influence that we have as a group is quite amazing. If on average we connect with 100 people a week each we’re influencing 53,800 people each week. I suspect the number is far greater than that because there’s some pretty significant bloggers on the list.

As I’ve mentioned on the twitter list page – over 500 people is a lot to follow on Twitter so you might not end up following them all – but do try to add as many as you can and see which ones connect with you most to stick with.

In the coming days Lara will compile more of these lists (one for each type of social media and one more miscellaneous list) so if you’re not a twitter user hopefully there will be a great list for you in the days ahead.

Missed Out On Submitting Your Profiles?

If you missed out on the 24 hour window where we allowed people to submit profiles don’t worry. The beauty of this project is that by befriending others who did you’re still going to make some great connections. We might open this up again at some point in the future but in the mean time I’d start with the lists that we’re publishing this week.

Social Media Love-In: Phase 2 Coming Soon

Social-Media-Love-InWow – when I posted an invitation this morning for ProBlogger readers to promote their social media profiles on this post I didn’t know what would happen – but I suspected it would be fun.

It’s been almost 9 hours since the post went live and over 280 readers have participated and I’m getting emails and tweets from people saying that they have had more people follow/befriend them today than they’ve ever had before (update: Lara just told me that she started getting friend requests minutes after adding hers).

The Next Phase of the ProBlogger Social Media Love-In

In another 15 hours from now (24 hours after the post went live) I’m going to close the comments section on the previous post. It’s not that I don’t want this to continue – but it’s going to enable me (or rather my good friend Lara from Anubis Marketing) to make this ‘Love-In’ even more useful.

You see Lara is going to spend tomorrow compiling everyone’s submissions into lists of the different social media sites so that instead of everyone having to trawl through every comment looking for the social media services that they use you’ll be able to quickly add everyone from your services quickly from the one list.

We’ll start with Twitter (it seems to be the most popular) and make a page with just all your Twitter profiles and go from there through the other services.

This means that we’ll end up with a directory of social media accounts from ProBlogger readers.

Why the Love-In?

As I said in the launch post for this Social Media Love-In – my hope is that this will help the ProBlogger community to grow and make it’s network stronger and more useful. While you’re all blogging on a lot of different topics – you’re all bloggers and the potential for you to help one another grow your blogs is quite massive.

You won’t find everyone that you add from these lists helpful – but hopefully they’ll give you a head start in finding other bloggers like you who are interested in putting themselves out there to connect.

What comes from it is really up to you and how you choose to use the compilations of profiles that we collate over the coming days.

So Add Your Profiles

As I write this you have less than 15 hours to add your profiles to the launch post (not this post). The comments on that post will be closed at 5am tomorrow (Melbourne time) to enable Lara to get the lists together. Depending upon how this goes we may have a 2nd round of submissions – but there’s no guarantees so add your profiles to make sure you’re included.

Just make sure you use the words ‘social media’ in your comment or we can’t guarantee it won’t get sucked into our spam filters.

Thanks to everyone for participating – it’s been a lot of fun already and I’m looking forward to seeing where this takes us.

Update: Okay, comments are closed on the other post. I’m working hard at compiling everything into lists, and we’ll update you soon on how that’s working out! Thanks everyone! - Lara

Welcome to the ProBlogger Social Media Love-In

Social-Media-Love-InImage by Mandala

Update: This will close after 24 hours – read more about why here.

Today I want to try something a little different and want to invite you to share your social media profiles with us (please read the ‘rules’ below before participating).

  • Are you active on social media sites?
  • Do you want to find more friends and followers?
  • Do you want to find other bloggers to follow and network with?

If so – you’re not alone and I want to give you an opportunity to do just that.

Today I want to do something that could get messy (I reserve the right to close this down if it does) – but could also be a lot of fun.

In comments below – leave links to any of your social media profiles that you want to promote. Once you’ve done so – start adding others on the list! This will only work if people make connections rather than just promote themselves.

I don’t know what will happen when we do this but I do know that we all have one thing in common here – we want to build better blogs and we all read ProBlogger. So why not build on this and see if we can work together on social media?

The ‘Rules’:

  • You must include the word – ‘social media’ in your comment. This is simply so that we can find any of your comments that get caught in our spam filter. If you don’t include it your comment may not appear.
  • You can use html in the comment to make your links live (this will make people finding your profile pages easier)
  • So that we keep some order to this – please limit your links to 10

My Links:

I’ll kick us off with some of my own.

Some are more active than others.

Now it’s over to you. I hope this works!

Update: WOW – this IS getting crazy. Please be patient with me as I work through all the comments in the spam filter. We’re getting there! Do remember to add others that you find and also include the words ‘social media’ in your comment so we can make sure everyone is added.

Update 2: Due to the popularity of this I’m going to close it after 24 hours and then compile all the information into some pages that will make befriending people easier. Read more about that here.

Update 3: If you guys could just post the URLs, that would be great. I’m essentially copying and pasting, and you cut my time by 50% if you post just the URL (ie. Don’t bother writing “Twitter” and linking it, just post your Twitter URL). It’ll automatically link it for you if you make sure you’ve included the “http” part right through to the end. If you’ve already posted, please don’t repost, but if you haven’t posted yet, I’d really appreciate this! :) - Lara

Update 4: Okay gang, there are nearly 700 comments! I’ve spent almost 5 hours this morning creating the Twitter page, and still have more to put up there. I’m not sure how we’re going to work out releasing them, maybe one network a day or something like that. Darren and I will work that out in a few hours when he wakes up, and I’m sure he’ll update you on that. Thanks to everyone who has commented and been patient with us getting you out of the spam folder! More updates coming soon. – Lara

Does Twitter Distract From or Inspire Your Blogging?

Sarah from Blogversary emailed me earlier today with a question/observation about some people and their use of social messaging tools like Twitter and Plurk. Her email included:

Do think Twitter has had a negative impact on some folk’s blogs? As in, they are blogging less?

My initial reaction to her email was to think of a number of bloggers who’ve all but disappeared from their blogs since discovering Twitter. The ‘distraction’ element of Twitter has been profound for them.

But as I began to think about it I realized that there’s another group of social messenger users that have been energized in their blogging by Twitter and Plurk. I’d consider myself to be in this group.

I personally find that Twitter informs and inspires my blogging. The interactions that I have, the conversations that I see others having, the questions that I’m asked and the answers that other users of Twitter and Plurk give me are constantly feeding me with ideas to blog about.

So my question for those of you who are social messaging users is this:

Does social messaging distract or inspire your blogging?

If you’re one of those bloggers who is inspired by these mediums – I’d also love to hear your reflections on how you keep it from being a distraction and how you shape your use of the mediums to inform and inspire your blogging.

A Blogger’s Guide to Branding with Social Media

This is a guest post from Steven Snell. Steven writes about social media marketing at Traffikd.

As the number of blogs online continues to grow rapidly every day, the need for effective branding is also constantly increasing. Branding allows you to stand out from others in your niche and show your readers what you’re all about and why they should pay attention to you. There are any number of different methods that you can take for branding yourself and your blog, and social media is one of them.

Why is Social Media Marketing and Excellent Opportunity for Branding?

It’s Free

Social media marketing doesn’t require any financial investment, something that most bloggers are concerned about. Of course, there are plenty of consultants and marketers that are willing to do much of the work for you if you’re willing to pay, and if you have the money it may be worth considering. However, anyone can be effective with social media, it just takes some time and effort. When you consider the impact that social media can have for a blog, it’s incredible that you can create those kinds of results without spending any money.

Unlimited Potential

The impact that social media can have on your blog and how you are branded is just about endless. Some very successful blogs have been built primarily on posts that have taken off with social media. It’s not the shortcut that many bloggers think it is, but there is plenty of potential if you’re willing to use it effectively.

Large Audience

Each of the major social media sites has an incredibly large audience on its own. Small sites may not have the same impact individually, but the social media audience as a whole makes up a large, and growing population of internet users. Niche sites are even contributing to creating a more diverse audience of social media users. Any blogger could find a way to benefit by reaching this audience.

Success Can Be Achieved Quickly

Branding yourself through social media will not happen by getting one post to the front page of Digg, but it can happen relatively quickly, especially when compared to other more traditional marketing methods. Even new blogs can achieve a strong level of branding through social media in just a few short months.

Other Perks

With social media marketing there are plenty of other good things happening while you’re branding your blog, including lots of new visitors, building links, gaining subscribers, and developing content that will draw search engine traffic for years to come.

Why is Branding Important for Bloggers?

Well, in the first paragraph I mentioned that branding is critical for blogging success, so let’s take a look at some of the specifics.

Too Much Competition

Although other bloggers in your niche are not really competition, if they’re getting all the attention from readers and you’re getting none, they basically are competition until you can start to make some progress. Simply put, there are too many blogs in most niches these days to get noticed and retain loyal readers without branding your blog. Those who are able to stand out from the pack in one way or another will excel, and those that don’t give any thought to branding will be held back.

The Personal Nature of Blogging

Because blogging is so personal, effective branding can help readers to connect to you and understand where you’re coming from and what you’re trying to do through the blog. When readers are able to develop a strong connection to you, you’re on your way to success.

Long-Term Readers

Blogs that are branded effectively will be much more likely to retain loyal readers indefinitely. Readers are not going to give up on you because of a few sub-par posts if the know what to expect from you in the future.

Security

Long-term, loyal readers give you a certain level of security as a blogger. When you have an established audience you don’t have to worry about your blog experiencing big ups and downs. Well-branded blogs are seen by readers as being valuable for a specific reason, and that helps to make you a bit more secure as long as you can hold that reputation.

Action Steps for Using Social Media to Brand Your Blog

1. Know How You Want to Be Seen by Readers

The critical first step of branding is to know how you want to be branded. What do you want to be known for? Without having a clear goal you will just be using social media to pad your stats with very little long-term relevance. It’s possible that your branding will change with time, but for now you need to decide how you want to be seen.

2. Develop Posts with this in Mind

Now that you know how you want others to see you and your blog, you can work backwards and develop posts that will put you closer to making it happen. Write on topics that will build your brand, and use a style and an approach that will work with your goals. Of course, since you’re trying to use social media for the branding, you’ll also need to consider the social media audience when you’re developing content (not every post, but some). Ideally, you’ll come up with some ideas for posts that social media users will like that will also help to establish your image.

3. Focus on Specific, Well-Targeted Social Media Sites

In order to have the best results with social media you should be focusing on a few specific sites, rather than spending a small amount of time trying to use a hundred different sites. A few months ago I wrote a post here at ProBlogger about targeting the right social media sites. You can refer to that post if you’re unsure of how to find the right sites for you.

Focusing on just a few specific social media sites doesn’t mean that you’ll only be able to have success with those sites, actually it can work the opposite way. By spreading yourself to thin and taking an unplanned approach you’ll have a low chance of success with any social media site. By focusing on getting to know the audience of a specific site and creating content accordingly, you’ll have a good chance for success, and the traffic from that social media site can result in even more votes at other social media sites.

4. Be an Active User of Social Media

It’s hard to effectively optimize and market your blog through social media if you rarely use it yourself. By staying active you’ll learn all about your target audience and how you can create content that they’ll appreciate. You don’t need to be active at a large number of sites, just those that you are targeting.

5. Network with Others in Your Niche

By being active at your targeted social media sites, you can build strong connections to other social media users and bloggers that may benefit you in terms of getting your content noticed. Getting to know others in your niche (for mutual gain, not just for your own) is one of the best things you can do to help your chances with social media. People tend to vote for others that they like, not just for content that they like.

6. Prioritize Branding Over Traffic

Social media marketing can be difficult because the numbers and the potential for traffic can lead you to make decisions that aren’t in the best interest for your long-term blogging growth. Many times you may have an idea for a post or a method of marketing that can generate some impressive numbers, but it may not be a good fit with your overall branding goals. If you’re concerned with branding your blog through social media, drawing the most visitors shouldn’t always be the priority.

7. Repeat Topics and Cover Them In-Depth

When you’re trying to develop your brand and position yourself as a leader or an expert on a certain subject, you need to be willing to go beyond the scope that any other bloggers are covering that particular subject. I’m not suggesting that you duplicate content or post the same thoughts repeatedly using different words, but make sure that you are covering every aspect of the subject as thoroughly as you can.

A good example of this is Courtney Tuttle. Court’s goal with his blog is to be the top source of internet marketing content. Several months ago he published a post on what he calls keyword sniping that drew loads of interest from readers. Since them he has covered the subject extensively through a series of posts where he completely walked readers through his process. He didn’t unnecessarily repeat the same thoughts, but he covered on aspect of internet marketing in-depth and it has had significant impacts on the branding of his blog.

8. Focus on Building Links

Referrals from other bloggers are extremely valuable for branding, and of course this usually comes in the way of a link. When other bloggers link to you, mention one of your posts, or recommend you to their readers, they are endorsing you and the work that you’re doing on your blog. Ultimately, the opinions of readers and other bloggers will determine how well you are branded. Social media has been used for link building for several years, and that’s because it can be very effective.

9. Pay Attention to What Others are Saying About You

Because the opinions of others are so influential to your branding success, knowing what is being said about you can be very important. Last year Darren wrote a post about why you need to have a vanity folder in your RSS reader to keep an eye on your reputation. The vanity folder isn’t just to make yourself feel good, it’s also to spot situations where others may be writing something that could be potentially damaging to your brand. Staying on top of the issue will keep you in tune with what is going on around you and it will give you a chance to put out fires that may arise from time-to-time.

10. Build Your Profiles

The majority of this post has addressed social media by referring to social news and bookmarking sites like Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon and Delicious. However, social networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn can be extremely valuable as well. There are also niche specific sites like Virb where you can connect with others that may have similar interests. These sites won’t send you a huge amount of traffic like Digg would, but they can be useful for gaining some exposure outside of your blog and creating the image that you’re after.

What’s Your Experience?

Have you consider branding in your approach to blogging and social media? How do you approach the subject and what have you found to work well?

Steven Snell covers a variety of topics related to social media at Traffikd. You can subscribe to his feed for more on these topics.