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Fara Hain
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Fara Hain worked at Seeking Alpha from October 2009 to February 2011 as Marketing Director. Her primary responsibilities were in product marketing, user feedback and managing the launch of new Seeking Alpha initiatives. Previously Fara held marketing positions at Gizmoz, a company in the 3D... More
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  • Want Followers? Upload a Photo!
    Seems logical, but now proven - it's not likely that people will follow you if you have no photo.  For people to make the jump from "interesting person" to "person I want to follow" they need to feel like they know who you are.

    I saw a recent study, posted on HubSpot, that analyzed 9 million Twitter profiles and found that users who have a photo tend to have 10 times the number of followers - see below.

    So for all of you Seeking Alpha users without a photo - now's a good time to upload one.  (In your toolbar, go to Settings / Update Picture.)

    May 25 5:38 AM | Link | Comment!
  • Tweet and Ye Shall Find: How this Marketer Found a New Audience on Twitter

    A version of this post originally appeared as a guest blog on Mark Schaefer’s “{grow} blog” (Thanks Mark!)

    To some, Twitter is surely the Paris Hilton of new media, a place popular only because of its own popularity, fascinating because it’s so clearly pointless.  And I admit, my initial impression of Twitter was similar.  But it didn’t take too long to make me a believer. While at my previous company Gizmoz (now digime), Twitter was gaining popularity.  I knew about Twitter because two of my friends, Jeff Pulver and Deb Schultz, are Twitterati and early adopters of the service, and I had talked to both of them about it back when it was better known as mass SMS. 

    Since the best way to engage any new service is to try it out, I started to do a daily search for Gizmoz on Twitter and see what, if anything, people were saying about us.  I collated responses into a spreadsheet to see if I could find a theme or locate emerging influencers. 

    I found that there was a group of people using my site in a completely different way than I had expected. Gizmoz is a B2C 3D animation company which had launched a web-based tool for teens to create greetings and videos using 3D avatars.  On Twitter, I found that our tool was being discussed with hashtags like this one: #edtech

    It turns out we were being discussed on the podium at a major education conference, as teachers had been using Gizmoz in the classroom as an interactive tool for students to create presentations (science classes, social studies, even a kindergarten class!).  We were blown away.  

    By making some simple changes to our product, and asking teachers for their feedback, we were able to make Gizmoz more classroom-friendly.  We added avatars like Albert Einstein and other historical figures and we started to be more aggressive about hiding public posts which featured less appropriate content.  We actively targeted teachers – who are, in fact, major viral influencers – one teacher influencing 30 students is a marketers dream!   Here are a few examples of things teachers did; in this one a teacher named Diane explains to her students how to use the tool and this one is an example from a teacher in Australia named Shaun.

    It’s doubtful I would have ever discovered an amazing market for our products without Twitter.  So while the occasional, “I’m drinking coffee” tweet may be annoying, I now know there’s deep value in there if you look for it.

    May 20 7:49 AM | Link | Comment!
  • Thanks to Social Networking, it IS a Wonderful Life

    It’s that time of year again, when Christmas carols, holiday spirit and “It’s a Wonderful Life” do a job on me – lulling me to that cynic-free place where I begin to believe the world’s troubles can perhaps be solved if we just, "teach the world to sing in perfect harmony" while drinking coke and munching on candy-canes.  So it’s with this warning in mind that I post some mushy-gushy thinking on social networks.   I only hope I don’t regret this post too much come January :).

    I am an unabashed lover of social networking, particularly facebook – something that is often met with surprise or even concern for my well being from friends and colleagues.  “Why waste your time with virtual friendships?” Or the most common, “Who cares which of my old college buddies is sitting on the toilet right now.”  I don’t see myself as particularly voyeuristic, at least not more than any other reality-TV watching twitterer ;).  And I don’t love fb because I’m addicted to Farmville, or to updating my status – I almost never do.  (The fact that I have been professionally training, encouraging and maintaining blogs for others for the past four years without ever starting one of my own until now, helps you understand just where I stand on the TMI scale.)

    No, the reasons I love facebook are best explained by the post below. [Explanation: the post was made by a great guy who calls himself “Mayascribe” in the comment section of this website.]

    “What I covet most about this website is that both contributors & commenters can establish unique kinds of relationships that us pre-boomers, boomers, post-boomers to newbies, have never before had or explored within any investing community, all thanks to the forum Seeking Alpha presents.
    What's more amazing if not mesmerizing to me, strange as it is, is that some of my best pals now are people whom I've never met, reside here on SA. I know more about people's lives here than I do about some of my secondary level friends.
    Frankly, the investing talent here on SA I'd put up against the best and biggest institutions and brokerage houses out there. No doubt in my mind we'd kick their butts! I know I have, and I also know that I would never have had that chance to do so without the friendships I've established here on SA."

    I think that this enhances something I’ve always believed to be true about friendships – that although you often become close with people simply because of shared experiences, you actually may prefer the company of people who are outside your circle, but share your interests.  Of course, the best friendships are those with elements of both shared experience and interest – but those are rare. 

    For me, social networks allow me to see the things my contacts are passionate about - in the same way the commenter above found his finance community (here!!) - and connect in a different, and perhaps more meaningful way.

    I’m not surprised when two guys I met at a political rally in 1991 are still going at it on facebook over Obama’s healthcare plan, and I love facebook for letting me in on the discussion once again...and maybe, when that happens, somewhere out there in that big social graph, an angel is getting its wings.

    Dec 31 8:17 AM | Link | Comment!
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