Justin Bieber

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Googlers, Beliebers, Magicians, Little Monsters, Droogies or Yahoos: Naming your employees or user base

3:44AM | Friday, 28 March

It seems almost every singer, band, and popstar out there these days comes up with a name for their fans.   For example, Justin Bieber has Beliebers, Lady Gaga has Little Monsters, Katy Perry has Katy-Cats, One Direction has Directioners, and Mariah Carey has Lambs.   Now, Old Taskmaster’s natural instinct in response to this insanity is to yell out: “Kids these days! It didn’t used to be like this in the good old days, Sonny Jim Crockett!” Except even in the days of yore, when music was ever so slightly more tolerable, some artists insisted in employing such shameless marketing tactics.   The classic was the Grateful Dead’s Deadheads, but there were others. For example, Barry Manilow has Fanilows, Jimmy Buffett has Parrotheads, Aerosmith has a Blue Army, KISS has a KISS Army, Phish has Phans and Megadeth has Droogies or Rattleheads, amongst others.   According to the comments on a recent column, there’s even a term for fans of the king of trucker rock, the certainly-not-a-one-hit-wonder who came up with Convoy, CW McCall: Crispy Critters.   (See kids, yours truly does read your comments, so keep ‘em coming!)   Of course, it’s not just musicians inventing collective nouns – many Silicon Valley tech companies have terms for their employees.   For example, Google has Googlers, Atari had Atarians, IBM has IBMers, Yahoo! has Yahoos, Tropo has Tropons, Xerox has Xeroids, Subway has its Sandwich Artists, Disney has Cast Members, and Starbucks has Partners.   Your humble correspondent has it on good authority that the editorial staff of SmartCompany and StartupSmart are known as smarties.   Some of the employee names are admittedly rather witty. For example, General Magic had Magicians, Lockheed Martin apparently has Martians, and Telstra has “future redundancies”.   Now, what about your startup? Do you have a term you’ll use for your current or future employees? Or your user base?   If not, it might be a fun thing to think about as you plan or grow your business.   After all, you couldn’t call yourself a proper Taskapprentice (or StartupSmarter) if you didn’t, now could you?   Get it done – today!

Music wasn’t better back in the day – and neither was life!

3:45AM | Thursday, 13 March

Like a caged animal, your humble correspondent was stuck in the waiting room. It was torture!   The plain white walls! The shag-pile carpet! The pile of worn gossip magazines that hadn’t been replenished since 1987, stacked high against a dust-covered fake pot plant!   Surely keeping anyone – let alone a paying customer – in such a condition is a crime against humanity!   But the worst thing was the music playing on the stereo. The announcer bellowed: “The greatest hits of the ‘80s, ‘90s noughties and now!” What followed was pure aural torture: Justin Bieber, One Direction, Miley Cyrus…   “It wasn’t like this in the good ole days, Sonny Jim Crockett!” Yours truly exclaimed to anyone within ear shot of the torture chamber. “Why back in the ‘90s, we had grunge! And alternative! It was a verifiable musical Nirvana! Of Rage Against the Machine! Nine Inch Nails! And Alanis Morissette after a nasty breakup! Tori Amos when she was angsty, rather than just pretentious! It was a far better era for music, why…”   Yours truly suddenly had a flashback to actually watching Video Smash Hits back in the ‘90s. New Kids on the Block. Radio stations playing nothing but Macarena remixes for a whole year. Ace of Base. Aqua. 5ive. S-Club Seven. N Sync. Backstreet Boys. Bloodhound Gang. Vanilla Ice. Not just Britney, but the endless clones of Britney. Including the horror of Mandy Moore singing Candy!   “Why, what I meant to say is the ‘80s were the best era for music! Bruce Springsteen, REM, Prince and U2 all at their peak! You had your Traveling Wilburys bringing together George Harrison, Bob Dylan and Roy Orbison! Jacko was bad – a real thriller – and still black! Madonna was young! Metallica actually played metal! Back when people said ‘wow, Dave Mustaine’s really insane’ and they were referring to an awesome guitar solo, not an interview! It was… it was…”   It was another flashback: This time back to tuning between KZ-FM, 3XY and 3TT and finding they were all playing endless marathons of Phil Collins’ Sussudio followed by Illegal Alien by Genesis! That’s when there wasn’t a triple play of the Eurythmics followed by Annie Lennox’s solo band and Dave Stewart’s solo hit Lily Was Here.   By the way, Michael and Janet weren’t the only Jacksons recording albums – oh no – it was Rebbie and Jermaine and Tito and LaToya too! So too did Mark “Jacko” Jackson!   Even Warwick Capper got a solo album! And Bruce Willis! And Hulk Hogan! (Don’t look up that ungodly abomination to music – you have been warned!) Even the Chicago Bears NFL team had The Superbowl Shuffle!   Then there were the glam metal bands – Ratt, White Snake, Twisted Sister and the like! And you know what made those mass produced pieces of garbage sound slightly tolerable? Yet another slow ballad by Huey Lewis, that’s what! And I haven’t even mentioned Debbie Gibson or Tiffany yet! Darn right we’re not gonna take it anymore!   “Okay, music in the ‘80s and ‘90s had weak moments in music. Now, the ‘70s. Queen. Led Zeppelin. The Doors. Fleetwood Mac. David Bowie. The dawn of punk. What more needs to be said?”   What more could be said? Plenty. Tiny Tim. Disco Duck. Muskrat Love and everything else by The Captain and Tennille. Minnie Riperton’s Loving You. Leif Garrett. Donnie and Marie Osmond. Oh, and anyone who argues the ‘70s were a perfect era for music against the Taskmaster will be forced to listen to Morris Albert’s Feelings until they either give in or go insane.   Music and business are a lot like life. You think things were better in the past. In reality, you’re just looking back through nostalgia-filtered lenses that somehow filter out the worst of the garbage.   Well, Old Taskmaster says enough with the good old days – it’s time to look forward!   Get it done – in the future!

How to grow your Twitter followers

5:25PM | Wednesday, 1 May

When it comes to social media accounts, setting them up is the easy part. It’s building the numbers and growing them into thriving communities that is the real challenge.   Increasing your followers on Twitter is one of the great mysteries of social media for most people. It’s probably the number one question I am asked as a social media consultant.   In reality it need not be a mystery, as there are a number of simple strategies you can implement to maximise your Twitter success.   1. Tweet regularly   Don’t set and forget!   If growing a large following is what you’re aiming for, then a tweet every few days or so will just not cut it. That said, tweeting every five minutes will just disengage followers so it’s important to find a balance.   Aim for three to five tweets per day to begin with, though this can certainly increase as your Twitter star rises.   It’s also important to not give up and get disheartened as your numbers don’t sky-rocket immediately. Growing your Twitter followers is a long game and you have to be patient and work at it. We can’t all be Justin Bieber or Lady Gaga!   2. Tweet interesting and relevant content   This should be fairly obvious, but if your tweets are not interesting, then others are less likely to want to follow you.   If your Twitter account is for your IT start-up, then it would make sense to tweet about updates in your business, your opinions on new technology, and news in the IT sector. Probably not as relevant is what your had for breakfast.   Can’t think of anything to tweet? Re-tweet someone else’s interesting content, or use an RSS reader such as Feedly to curate content for you that you can tweet out.   Still stuck?   Better to not tweet at all than tweet something that will disengage others.   3. Follow others   Often the biggest problem with obtaining followers is letting them know you exist.   You can boost awareness of your Twitter account by following others you’d like to follow you in return, as users receive an alert when they receive a new follower.   There is of course no guarantee that they will follow you in return, but experience shows that around 10-20% will.   There are a couple of ways you can find relevant Twitter accounts to follow. First take a look at Twitter lists.   If you’re included on a list called ‘Australian IT’, take a look at the other accounts on that list.   You’re bound to discover other accounts to follow. Want to get more PR exposure? Take a look at lists such as “Australian Journalists” and follow those accounts.   Another way to discover people to follow is to use Twitter directory websites such as Follower Wonk and Tweepz.   These sites allow you to search for users based on keywords, location and names. Looking for Developers in Melbourne? Enter those details and a matching list will display.   4. Use hashtags   Research which hashtags are popular within the communities of interest you’re targeting, and use include them in your tweets.   If you’re a fashion designer, then it would make sense to use a hashtag such as #LMFF during the L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival.   It is, however, important to make sure that your tweet relates back to that hashtag.   It is extremely bad practice to write a tweet about your business and try to piggyback off a trending hashtag, and this will get you nowhere. Your aim should be to add value to the conversation.   5. Run a competition   Once your Twitter account is somewhat established and already has a small following, a great way to bolster your numbers is to run a competition.   , where Twitter users had to tweet that they were entering #CrustFreePizzaFriday and also be a follower of @crust_pizza.   Each Friday a winner was random selected to win five pizzas. This competition resulted in a huge lift in followers for Crust Pizza, and for many Fridays my Twitter feed was dominated by #CrustFreePizzaFriday tweets.   6. Link from everywhere!   Finally, you should remember to display your Twitter URL everywhere you can! Make sure you link from your website, email signature, business cards, promotional materials, brochures, menus, in-store posters…   The people who will see this are most likely to already be your customers (or potential customers!) so make sure it’s easy for them to discover your Twitter account.

Yahoo! goes OnTheAir in latest app acquisition

3:59AM | Monday, 11 March

Yahoo! has acquired video chat broadcasting app OnTheAir in a bid to further expand its mobile offerings, less than two months after acquiring mobile recommendations app Stamped.

Gold Coast dad gets backing for One Direction app

3:00AM | Monday, 11 March

A Gold Coast father is the unlikely creator of an app that tracks the whereabouts of British boy band One Direction, whose management has signed off on the app following a fight with Apple.

Yahoo! acquires celebrity-backed app start-up Stamped

3:26AM | Tuesday, 12 March

Yahoo! has made its first acquisition under the direction of chief executive Marissa Mayer, snapping up celebrity-backed mobile recommendations app Stamped for an undisclosed sum.

Tweets from me to loo

4:30AM | Friday, 13 April

An app launched last month transfers tweets from a user’s Twitter profile and prints them on toilet roles.

10 secrets to Instagram’s success

5:21AM | Wednesday, 2 May

It’s fair to say Instagram has dominated news headlines this week, after being acquired by Facebook for an astounding $US1 billion.

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