emily stoddard Posts

This year, I’ve decided to keep my following count on Twitter to no more than 500 people, in an effort to simplify my social media use. Being an active Twitter user since 2007 means I eagerly followed hundreds of people who have either morphed into Twitter abusers (read: “Buy my product. Buy my product. Read my blog. Buy my product NOW.”), are no longer relevant to me, or are simply inactive. 

I’ve been using a swell little tool to tackle this: ManageFlitter. Like many Twitter tools, it will show you inactive tweeps and slice and dice those you follow to help get your list under control. But what I love about ManageFlitter is its search functionality, which searches an account’s bio or tweets. 

If you are looking for a quick way to clear your list of those potentially self-promoting or otherwise uninteresting tweeps, may I suggest searching for the following?

  • Guru
  • Coach
  • Personal brand
  • Affiliate
  • Ninja

I’m not suggesting everyone who uses these words in their bio is a self-promoting feed-clogger. But these words have proven to be a wonderful start for me in surfacing some of the chief offenders (i.e., snake oil salespeople of social media). For extra scrubbing power, consider:

  • Millennial
  • Gen Y
  • Enterprise
  • Entrepreneur

Again, some people use these terms legitimately, including some of my real-life friends. But those who do not tend to hail from the quirky cottage industry of navel-gazing generational rants or believe entrepreneurship is shaped like a pyramid.

For bonus points, I unfollow organizations. I’ve decided once and for all that for me, Twitter is best as a person-to-person environment, even if that person is tweeting on behalf of a specific organization. I find that I already like many organizations on Facebook, so it’s just double-dipping to see them in my Twitter feed. 

And that, my friends, is how I stay sane with the number of people I follow on Twitter.


Community through Reading: Little Libraries 


My hubby Carl and I are learning soulmates. (Nerds make the best partners.) We are eternal students, which means we always have new ideas and resources and articles to share, but we also generate a lot of email in the course of a day. It is almost always something shared on the fly, to be read and discussed later. Like a correspondence course between people who share a house.

Today I realized how powerful Google+ will be in taking that exchange out of our inbox and into a much cleaner and more fluid setting. That got me pretty excited, so I decided to create a circle just for Carl, so I could easily share with him and keep tabs on our ongoing learning. 

I decided to call the circle “My Love,” because that’s the sugary sweet way I refer to Carl (yeah, we’re that couple). This resulted in a “Circle of My Love,” which of course was quite amusing to me because of said nerdiness. Finally, I decided to alert Carl to his special placement in such a special circle, and the following conversation ensued:


I wasn’t sure it could happen, but in just a few days, I’ve found more reasons to believe Google+ is going to be a real player in not just social networking, but in knowledge management and content development. I’m still formulating questions and opinions about it (and we’ve been discussing it a lot around the office), but here are my quick takes on two common challenges to Google+:

“It’s yet another social network.”

At first, I had the gut reaction of — what, another thing? But Google+ is deceptively simple, designed in such a way that it feels more like a clean slate than it does another tool to use. It’s like Google has somehow capitalized on social media fatigue. The problem has not necessarily been too much social networking — the problem has been how cluttered and bloated the existing networks have become. As others have pointed out, Google+ is not another thing to do — it’s a chance to start over and get to the essence of what makes social media valuable.

“Aren’t Circles just like Facebook’s lists?” 

At face value, it may seem that Circles are nothing new. They let you organize people just like Facebook lets you organize people into lists. But the difference is how Circles are integrated into the experience… indeed, they *make* the experience. Connecting with people on Google+ is part and parcel with adding them to an appropriate circle — as soon as you click to connect with someone, the lists of Circles appears. This removes all the friction. In a couple clicks, you’ve added and sorted people.

Furthermore, when you post something on Google+, you must choose which Circles should receive the information for the post to be published. This is such a subtle distinction, but for me, it was the light bulb moment with Google+. It defines the “culture” of Google+, I think. Facebook has the option of selecting lists when posting an update, but the positioning is different. Facebook asks, “Who do you want to hide this from?”, but Google+ asks, “Who do you want to share this with?” 

This subtle, conceptual difference (coupled with Google+’s seamless execution of it via Circles) is what has the potential to make Google+ stick, I think. 


  • Why do so many book trailers suck? And could I develop a business for helping them not suck? One of my secret dream jobs has been to create movie trailers. I think it’s because I love getting to the essence of a story. To me, trailers are visual poetry that reflects that essence — they contain only the most essential components in order to create tension, provoke emotion, and communicate a bigger idea. So combining my love of writing with my love of trailers could potentially be the best thing ever. Right?
  • Why has serial fiction in a blog format not taken off? I’ve only been able to find outdated, poorly produced examples. Has it just not been done well yet, or are readers not interested? I think it just hasn’t been done well yet… which means I’m intrigued about exploring it for a potential project idea.
  • Why are many blogs and publications about nonprofits and philanthropy so… meh? And why are some otherwise talented young social change professionals wasting their time droning on about personal branding? Can we ever reasonably expect older leaders to get out of the way if we don’t stop blabbering about our brands and start acting on our insight related to real issues?



Is Shyness an Evolutionary Tactic? – NYTimes.com