Today’s training is all about Friendfeed, a service that will be a pretty crucial element for us in this year’s Thirty Day Challenge. Let’s take a look at Ed’s video below…

Using Friendfeed for the Thirty Day Challenge

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Before I start in with my notes, let’s take off our internet marketing caps for a second. I know it may not be easy – but shift gears with me here…

Internet marketing, making money online, affiliate marketing – call it whatever you want to. At the end of the day, money is moved whenever a sale is made. If nothing is sold – there’s no money to be made. So – to successfully make money online, you end up having to talk about a sale of some kind. Let’s talk about sales…

There are a few ways to approach sales – without turning this into a sales seminar…Let’s say there are approaches that could be described as “adversarial” and on the other end of the spectrum – there are approaches that could be described as “advisory.”

I don’t want to knock on any specific person or job – but one of the most prevalent stereotypes involving salespeople is the “used-car salesman.” The image brought to mind is the guy sitting across the table – being pushy, trying to close the deal – overcoming the objections – and creating urgency by limiting the time the price is valid.

I’ve met car salesmen who truly seemed to have my interests in mind. I’ve also come across a few who were out to sell me a particular car. They sized me up and decided what they wanted to sell me before I even had a chance to tell them what I wanted or what I could afford. In those instances, it felt adversarial – their intent was to line their pocket, not serve their (potential) customer.

An emergent sales approach in the last decade or two involves taking on the role of consultant or advisor. It means asking a lot of open ended questions, finding out what a customer is looking for, what they need. An advisor wouldn’t try to push any certain product or agenda – rather, through conversation – they would begin to work out a solution that is the ideal fit for the customer’s problem.

In one sense, it takes more work – more of an investment on the salesperson’s part to make sales this way. But if done well, if the salesperson has used conversation to connect with their client – to assess the problem and come up with a solution – the end result is a customer who trusts you, who is ready to make their purchase and will remain a satisfied customer.

It’s this idea of conversation Ed is talking about here. The conversation can now happen online. And that is the power of services like Twitter and Friendfeed. You get to have those conversations with potential customers. You get to create those relationships, and become known as a problem solver. Solve enough problems for enough people – the money will follow.

I know, I know – I’ve digressed from the lesson. I’ll get back to it in a few sentences. Just think about this – a conversation probably brought you here. Maybe a blog post or an interesting article or a search – whatever it was, you’re still reading this. So, something has held your interest. You’re seeing the process in action, you’re part of this conversation – and you’re going to learn how to put this process into action for yourself in your own niche….I’ll get off my soapbox now, let’s get back to Friendfeed…

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Friendfeed is a great way to communicate with a group of people. It will be an important tool for communication. We’ll take it kind of slow, because if you get into Friendfeed too far, too fast – it could be like trying to take a drink out of a fire hose. (I’ve heard that can really hurt.)

One of the key concepts to keep in mind – it’s not about the volume of content Friendfeed sends out – it’s about the ability to create conversations around bits of content. This is where Friendfeed excels as a conversational platform.

By the way, the use of the word “conversation” here implies a two-way communication.

People try to do this with Twitter, but Twitter isn’t designed as a conversation platform – like Instant Messaging or Skype. It’s a micro-blogging platform – designed around the idea of short, 140 character posts. People try to use it as a two-way conversational tool – and it can sort of work that way. But at the core, that’s not what micro-blogging is meant to accomplish.

Friendfeed takes any piece of content and provides a mechanism to filter and stream that content – allowing people to vote and/or comment on it. It doesn’t “generate” the content per se – it gives you a place to gather or aggregate this content from several sources, turning it into a feed – and then turning it into a conversation.

If you follow Ed on Friendfeed, you’ll see just about everything Ed is doing online. It could be a new picture on Flickr, a new video on YouTube, a new blog post, his latest “Stumble” – etc. It’s been referred to as a “Life-streaming” application.

When it’s all said and done – the more times you are able to communicate to your market in a non-threatening way – without getting in their face with a “hard-sell” – the more successful you will be. The more times you’re able to make contacts, build rapport and get your offer in front of them – and they can respond to you – the more likely you will be to make sales and the more successful you will be.

In this regard, Twitter and Friendfeed are two of the most powerful tools currently available for opening up the conversation and allowing online business people to interact with their potential customers.

As you read on, we’ll see how to create a Friendfeed account and sign in. We’ll also take a look at Ed’s feed, so you can get familiar with using Friendfeed. There are a lot of tools and options that we will be able to explore later on. But let’s take it slowly, to keep from getting overwhelmed and/or distracted…

So let’s get started – click the picture below – and let’s go sign in to Friendfeed:

Friendfeed - Sign In or Create Account

Friendfeed - Sign In or Create Account

In my case, I’m going to have to create an account. So – step one: create account

Friendfeed - Create Account

Friendfeed - Create Account

Step 2 – Find your friends – here, we can find Facebook friends and/or import our address book.

Friendfeed - Find Your Friends

Friendfeed - Find Your Friends

Friendfeed is a great way to keep your Facebook news feed up to date. It’s a bit advanced for today, but it’s something we’ll want to look at later. We could also add people from our e-mail address books. Again, we can come back to this step later.

Friendfeed - Popular Friendfeeders

Friendfeed - Popular FriendFeeders

We could also add popular Friendfeed users – but we’ll skip it for now to avoid getting overwhelmed. Beware the fire hose…

Next Step – Share something – here we can add things like our Google reader or blog or YouTube, Twitter, and many other services (Seesmic, Flickr, etc.)

Friendfeed - Share Something

Friendfeed - Share Something

Look at that list! I mean seriously, that’s a huge list!

I’m going to go ahead and share a few as I’m writing up this post. I’ve been dying to do this. Watch how easy this is…

First, Google Reader – I click on the link that says Google Reader and this pops up:

Friendfeed - Share Google Reader

Friendfeed - Share Google Reader

Uh-oh – so far I haven’t paid attention to my “shared items” page. Where do I find that?

Just log in to your Google Reader account – in the upper left corner, you should see something like this:

Friendfeed - Google Reader

Friendfeed - Google Reader

Notice the link under “Your stuff” – it says “Shared items” – go ahead and click that. Here’s what I got:

Friendfeed - Google Reader Shared Items

Friendfeed - Google Reader Shared Items

Nothing like Google letting me know I’ve been a slacker…

Okay, so I can do this two ways. I can select the link text above and copy it – or I could click the link. That would take me to the actual page and I could copy the link right out of my address bar. I chose to copy it from here – and paste it like this:

Friendfeed - Google Reader Added

Friendfeed - Google Reader Added

Click on the “Import Google Reader button and that’s it. Let’s do another one…StumbleUpon:

Just click on the “Share Something” link to StumbleUpon and here’s what pops up:

Friendfeed - Share StumbleUpon

Friendfeed - Share StumbleUpon

I just add my username and click the “Import StumbleUpon” button. That was easy. How about another?

Let’s try Twitter – I click on the Twitter link in the “Share Something menu and here’s what I get:

Friendfeed - Share Twitter

Friendfeed - Share Twitter

So far, so good. What about something trickier – maybe something like, oh – I don’t know – this Blog perhaps? Glad you asked…I click on the “Blog” link in the “Share Something menu and get:

Friendfeed - Share My thirty Day Challenge Blog

Friendfeed - Share My Thirty Day Challenge Blog

Seriously, that’s it – now whenever I update anything on any of those services – it will show up on my Friendfeed.

So now, I’ve shared the following services:

Friendfeed - My Shared Sites

Friendfeed - My Shared Sites

I could keep going – but I think you get the idea. You can always come back and add services as you start using them.

Now, just for giggles – I made a special Twitter post – just for you…

Friendfeed - Twitter Post Just For You

Friendfeed - Twitter Post Just For You

Now let’s see what happened in my Friendfeed:

Friendfeed - Message From Twitter

Friendfeed - Message From Twitter

So – I do something in Twitter, and it gets picked up by Friendfeed….

Now, let’s take a look at what Friendfeed pulled in from my shared items:

Friendfeed - My Friendfeed Page

Friendfeed - My Friendfeed Page

It actually went a brought items in from as far back as July 12th – let’s see, today is the 21st – so it went back a little over a week. That’s pretty cool – it keeps me from looking like a slacker, well – at least a little bit. just don’t compare me to Ed 🙂

Speaking of Ed – Let’s go look at Ed’s personal Friendfeed page:

Friendfeed - Ed Dales Friendfeed Page

Friendfeed - Ed Dale's Friendfeed Page

(You can click on the image above to go to Ed’s current Friendfeed page…)

So in looking at Ed’s page, you can see he follows several people and a lot of people comment on his items.

You know, sometimes I look in on stuff like this and feel like the nerdy little freshman who wandered into the cool upper-classmen party in high school. Oh well – at least I didn’t wake up on stage singing – and realize I was naked 🙂

The thing to notice here is the conversation that is taking place. Granted, the niche here is “thirty day challengers.” Well, that – and there are some people who are members of the Immediate Edge. But the key is the conversation. Ed posts something that should be of interest , something that adds value – someone else comes along and adds a comment – or adds a link to a related item. Friendfeed keeps the flow of the conversation going in a way that is “seamless.” Yes, I DID just use that word – if you watched the video, you know what I’m talking about…

Let’s take a look at the “rooms” functionality – using the “Thirty Day Challenge” room.

Friendfeed - Thirty Day Challenge Room

Friendfeed - Thirty Day Challenge Room

You can click the image above to go to the Thirty Day Challenge Room.

You can join the room – go ahead, join the room…the link is over on the right hand side.

Friendfeed - 30DC Room Share Something

Friendfeed - 30DC Room Share Something

You can take this little link (pictured above) and use it to share items to the thirty day challenge room. Everyone gets an opportunity to contribute and jump into the conversation.

Here’s the important thing – everything in Friendfeed is…..drumroll please…. an RSS feed. So you can add feeds from Friendfeed into your Google reader.

Remember how you can “share” from within Google Reader – that means you can interact with a feed from Friendfeed from within Google Reader. Talk about cutting out interruptions to your workflow…

We’ll be learning even more killer ways to use Friendfeed for our internet marketing endeavors throughout the thirty day challenge.

Ed encourages every team to create their own room – all the members of your team can interact and share. It’ll become a one-stop-shop for everyone to keep track of each other, their activities, and the sites they’re looking at. And with the commenting capabilities, the feed capabilities and the privacy options – it’s very powerful. It’ll be something to get used to, but it will be absolutely worth it.

Remember, once you create your team room – you can subscribe to your feed and interact with your teammates directly from Google Reader. Nice!

So if you haven’t done it yet – go get signed up for Friendfeed and start getting used to it. Share a few things like your Twitter, maybe your Google Reader – join the Thirty Day Challenge room and subscribe to Ed’s Friendfeed page.

The next lesson will take us deeper into Friendfeed….

If you got something out of this post, please take a moment and spread the word…

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Today, as the video opens with some awesome sounds from a V18 amp head in the background – Ed lets us know, we’re going to be learning about StumbleUpon…take a look at the video below.

Find Great Websites With StumbleUpon

This lesson is kind of a tough one to do, and the reason for that is StumbleUpon. It’s a powerful tool, it’s very cool – but it can also be a bit of a distraction. You’ll see what I mean.

So, what is StumbleUpon?

StumbleUpon - SU Logo

StumbleUpon - SU Logo

Basically, if you’re in a “discovery” frame of mind – or looking for ideas, StumbleUpon is a terrific way to go through the internet looking for things you like. It gradually gets to know the things you like and the things you don’t like – and comes up with some real gems based on your preferences. The longer you use StumbleUpon, the better it gets at serving up sites that you’ll like.

The reality is, there are billions of web pages out there – you’ve probably only actually seen a tiny fraction of a percent of them. You’ll never get through them all – and you could never search out just the ones you’d like. In fact, you probably have a fixed set of sites you go through and rarely discover anything outside of your “bubble.” And I mean that in the nicest possible way…

StumbleUpon also has awesome potential for internet marketing. We’ll learn more about that as we get into the actual Thirty Day Challenge. Like many social bookmarking sites, the more a site gets a positive rating – a thumbs up – the better it is. This ranking system works very well to connect users with sites based on their preferences. We can utilize that to bring attention to our sites as well.

This should be mentioned now, Ed and the Thirty Day Challenge Team is operating under the assumption that your content adds value for the reader, offers up a solution to a problem or just plain makes somebody’s day. If it’s none of those things, social bookmarking will work against you and eventually lead to your demise.

Take this site for example – does it add value for you the reader? I hope it does. I hope that you’re watching the training videos in their entirety – and then I’m hoping these notes add value as a reference tool for you.

Do these posts offer a solution to a problem? Well, that may be debatable. But it probably solves a problem for some people. By posting summarized notes on the thirty day challenge – I’m creating a reference tool for my own use that I expect will also become a reference tool for other thirty day challengers.

Does finding a resource like this make your day? Only you can answer that one – but I’d like to think I made your day a little bit better. Whether I did or didn’t – please let me know in the comments area below.

StumbleUpon, and sites like it want to add value for their users – and because of that, they don’t want to be victimized by spammers. So they look closely at how people use their service. If you want to avoid being lumped in with the spammers, don’t spam. Learn how to use social bookmarking sites the way they were intended to be used.

Let’s Get Ready To Stumble!!!

Now, I’ve been holding off on this – and I’m glad I have. To review, back in the post “Extensions To Install In Flock” one of the extensions we installed was the StumbleUpon toolbar.

If you haven’t signed up ro StumbleUpon yet, you should go ahead and do it now:

StumbleUpon - Join

StumbleUpon - Join

Now, let’s get it fired up.

Once I’d installed the StumbleUpon toolbar and restarted Flock – my screen came up with this:

StumbleUpon - Continue Customizing

StumbleUpon - Continue Customizing

And the actual toolbar looked like this:

StumbleUpon - Start Stumbling or Sign In

StumbleUpon - Start Stumbling or Sign In

What to do…What to do…Okay, I’ll hit the “continue” button… and here’s the screen I get:

So this is how StumbleUpon gets to know me in the beginning…

StumbleUpon - Select Your Interest

StumbleUpon - Select Your Interest

Now it’s time to open my StumbleUpon account

StumbleUpon - Create Account

StumbleUpon - Create Account

My user name is SteveH2008 – feel free to look me up if you’d like to be my StumbleUpon friend.

And now my screen shows this:

StumbleUpon - Start Stumbling

StumbleUpon - Start Stumbling

AND – my toolbar now looks like this on the left:

StumbleUpon - Toolbar, Left Side

StumbleUpon - Toolbar, Left Side

and like this on the right:

StumbleUpon - Toolbar, Right Side

StumbleUpon - Toolbar, Right Side

Now We’re Ready To Stumble!!!

The Thirty Day Challenge is all about taking action – so let’s take some action now. Go ahead, click the Stumble! button.

StumbleUpon - Stumble Button

StumbleUpon - Stumble Button

Let’s see what comes up:

StumbleUpon - Nelix Nebula

StumbleUpon - Nelix Nebula

This comes from www.wikisky.org – a picture of the Nelix Nebula.

What do I think? Do I like it or not?

StumbleUpon - Thumbs Up-Thumbs Down

StumbleUpon - Thumbs Up-Thumbs Down

Now, it has nothing to do with making money online, but at the risk of revealing my own inner geek – I happen to like it – so I click the “I like it” button

StumbleUpon - I liked it

StumbleUpon - I liked it

Let’s try one more – I click the Stumble button and…

StumbleUpon - Dr. Grammar

StumbleUpon - Dr. Grammar

This comes from www.drgrammar.org – and might come in handy if, say for instance – you have to do some writing 🙂

What do I think?

StumbleUpon - Thumbs Up - Thumbs Down

StumbleUpon - Thumbs Up - Thumbs Down

Now, this could actually be a good resource for copy writing – AND I can think of a few people who might like it too – so I click the “I like it” button

StumbleUpon - I Liked It

StumbleUpon - I Liked It

Enough of my little personal digression…let’s get back to the rest of the lesson.

What if I didn’t like it? Well, I could just click on the “thumbs down” button. Does that deal a devastating blow to someone’s content? Not really, it’s mainly a way for StumbleUpon to serve up websites that I would actually like.

If you use this in a genuine way, any time you come across a page or a post or content you like – you should get into the habit of clicking the “I like it” button.

Now, as I click the Stumble! button – I’ll be going through pages that have already been “Stumbled Upon” by someone.

What if I come across a piece of content that hasn’t been “Stumbled” before?

Man, I am so glad you asked that. Here’s why…

I haven’t done any social bookmarking for this site yet. I’ve made a few blog comments, and started including it in my Thirty Day Challenge signature – but that’s it. So, I’m going to go ahead and “Stumble” one of the posts here that I think is very useful. The “Table of Contents” page…

StumbleUpon - Submitting the TOC

StumbleUpon - Submitting the TOC

So – that will become part of my routine. In addition to writing up my notes, once I publish the post – I’ll start using the “I like it” button to add my posts into StumbleUpon.

As I was typing this post and doing the screen capture above, I realized that I forgot to add tags before I submitted the site to StumbleUpon. In fact, in looking at the screen shot – there wasn’t a place in the dialog box for adding tags. In the video, Ed talks a little bit about tags – and they are important. But I couldn’t add any – so, now what? I’m glad you asked…

To fix or edit something like that, I’m going to click on the link in my toolbar marked “Favorites”

StumbleUpon - Favorites

StumbleUpon - Favorites

From here, I can locate the site I just posted.

StumbleUpon - EditMyPostTags

StumbleUpon - EditMyPostTags

I click on the “edit” button in the upper right corner of the entry.

StumbleUpon - Adding-Editing Tags

StumbleUpon - Adding-Editing Tags

The editor allows you to edit your description, and also add tags at the bottom. It seemed to limit me to 5 tags, I’m not sure if that’s consistent within StumbleUpon. But I wasn’t able to get more than 5 tags to save or display. Take that for whatever it’s worth. Once I was finished adding tag, I just clicked the “save” button.

Of course, if you’d like to practice using StumbleUpon – feel free to click YOUR “I like it” button while you’re still reading THIS post. If it’s already been “stumbled” – that’ll be all you have to do. If you happen to be the first to “stumble” a post – well, you may end up writing a description and selecting a category and tags too.

Now, the homework Ed assigns is pretty simple. Spend some time, maybe an hour or so – and Stumble. Click “I like it” for the things you like, and click the “Thumbs down” button if you come across something you don’t like. This will help you get to know StumbleUpon better AND will also help StumbleUpon get to know you too.

Keep in mind as you start stumbling – use it the way a person would use it, not as a “marketer” would use it. It’s like a bank account. By “stumbling” sites that you enjoy – it’s like making a deposit to your account. If you “stumble” one of your own posts – it’s like making a withdrawal. Make sure you don’t overdraw your account. That’s something a spammer would do.

Let’s wrap this up with a look at the “Channels:” section of your toolbar.

StumbleUpon - Channels

StumbleUpon - Channels

Notice the “Globe” icon – that one randomly takes you through everything.

You can Stumble through “favorites of friends”

You can Stumble through images.

You can Stumble through videos.

You can Stumble through a list of popular websites, like YouTube or WordPress or Flickr – the drop down menu gives you a lot of options.

You can Stumble through News Items.

And the “All” drop down menu give you a host of ways to filter through the items you Stumble.

One thing I noticed – when I’m on this tab in my browser, editing my WordPress blog – the WordPress icon appears to the left of the Globe icon.

StumbleUpon - Channels-WordPress

StumbleUpon - Channels-WordPress

If I switch tabs to a YouTube video, the YouTube logo appears there.

StumbleUpon - Channels-YouTube

StumbleUpon - Channels-YouTube

When I switch to my Flickr tab to grab one of my screen captures – the Flickr logo appears in that place.

StumbleUpon - Channels-Flickr

StumbleUpon - Channels-Flickr

I’m going to go out on a limb and say the StumbleUpon toolbar can recognize the site you’re on and offers up the option of stumbling through items within that site. Pretty cool trick if you ask me…

So go have some fun getting used to StumbleUpon.

And if you appreciate this post, please take a moment to spread the word…

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