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Acquiring social graces

Jan 1, 2010 12:00 AM

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When I consider historic moments in communication, certain sound bites spring to mind: Alexander Graham Bell's, “Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you.” Not to mention Samuel Morse's, “What hath God wrought?” As I reflect upon 2009 technical milestones, my cousin's Facebook message looms large: “Michael got promoted to Level 300 in Mafia Wars and is celebrating by offering a special bonus to their [sic] friends for a limited time!”

My top five likes & dislikes

Initially, I regarded social media with the deep suspicion previously reserved for CB radio, Pong, VCRs, brick-style cell phones and the Slap Chop manual chopper. Here are the top five things I disliked about it:

5. Non-athletes routinely referring to themselves in the third person.

4. Wanton disrgrd for spellng & grmmr b/c of chrctr limits.

3. “Status update” capability suggests disproportionate public interest in users' mundane activities.

2. Everyone else's profile photo is more attractive/clever than mine.

1. Endless proliferation of links to numerically themed lists and articles.

But this past year as I became more familiar with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and related social media tools, I found some advantages:

5. Instant access to many great people and resources around the world.

4. “Whatever happened to so-and-so?” is largely rendered moot.

3. With a few keystrokes, I can share vital bulletins and images (such as a photo of the grilled cheese sandwich I ate for lunch).

2. Nobody knows my profile photo isn't actually a picture of me.

1. Numerically themed lists and articles are the lifeblood of harried editors everywhere.

Over the past few weeks I've encountered InterLinkONE ( on virtually all of the major social media outlets. Clearly this integrated marketing specialist believes in multichanel marketing! Its website features e-newsletters, videos, blogs and more.

Recent interLinkONE topics included “LinkedIn Groups for Printers & Marketing Service Providers,” QR codes and “Twitter Basics for Marketing Service Providers.”

“Twitter is an excellent micro-blogging platform for you to spread the word about company news, special events, discounts and more,” writes John Foley, interLinkONE's president and CEO. “Want to connect with prospects? Want to display your expertise? In 140 characters or less, you can tweet tips, coupon codes, links to press releases (and more).”

Something to tweet about

Foley will present “How to Use Social Media to Build Your Business” at NAPL's annual Top Management Conference (TMC) in Marco Island, FL, February 14-17.

Not sure what you'd do on Twitter? Foley suggests:

  • Links to your blog posts.

  • Links to your video or audio offerings.

  • Links to other online information (stats, blog posts, news articles, videos, etc.).

  • Company announcements — from employee of the month to hitting your latest sales goal.

  • What you are currently working on.

  • What you are currently reading.

  • Events you are attending or organizing.

  • Retweet other tweets to cultivate relationships and help disseminate useful information.

  • Answers to questions that relate to your business, products/services.

  • Ask questions and invite commentary.

A print buyer's perspective

Twitter introduced me to Patty Young, a textile and sewing pattern designer. Young wrote a three-part series ( about conducting a press check for some instruction booklets.

I enjoyed her enthusiasm and impressive attention to production detail. “My booklets always go on a 6-color press, like this Heidelberg Speedmaster, because in addition to the four process colors, they get a dull aqueous coating, which is like a varnish that is applied inline and is actually considered a fifth color,” Young reports.

Last but not least

In his inaugural blog post at, Spiel Associates' David Spiel is characteristically candid: “I don't know if I am qualified to write a blog since I have never read one,” says the postpress maven. “What do you get from these blogs? The Internet is an open sewer with anyone spouting off…. So, why not me?”

Or you, for that matter! Do you have a blog to share with us? Drop me a line. You'll also find me on Facebook or Twitter, and of course at