About Monica Wright

Monica Wright serves as Vice President of Audience Engagement for Third Door Media, producers of digital marketing leaders Search Engine Land, Marketing Land, and the SMX and MarTech conference series. With over fifteen years of experience in online publishing, content marketing and audience development for media companies, she is focused on content consumption and measuring user engagement across multiple platforms and channels including desktop, mobile, social and email.

Dear LinkedIn, Please Fix Your Stuff

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Last week I read that Chris Brogan closed his LinkedIn account because it was no longer working for him. Not just “not working” in that it doesn’t drive business or suit his needs, it actually wasn’t working.

I like LinkedIn, I really do. I like that you can export contacts and in fact reinstate your account if you do decide to cancel it (which in itself is a lesson to those who think that their data is solely theirs.) I like how you can keep tabs with colleagues, and it provides an easier entry point to connect online with people you don’t know as well. I like how users exchange ideas, how business use it to recruit, network and share ideas. I like it how it can drive traffic to sites. Lots of advantages.

But it is broken. Chris mentioned his frustrations. Here are mine:

1) At one point the LinkedIn Share button on searchengineland.com had been hacked. Luckily this was resolved, but it’s unsettling that something like this could happen. SEL attracts significant traffic, and it impacted overall user experience that’s expected ON THE SITE – not on the social platform.

2) On the Search Engine Land and Marketing Land Groups, the Manager’s Choice options are both broken. The Search Engine Land group button has been broken for 10 months, and the Marketing Land group button is now broken. We submitted previous help requests for this as well, without a clear answer besides it’s a “known bug.” The news we have had posted in Manager’s Choice is extremely outdated and it gives the impression that we are not actively managing the site. My own profile is associated with the last post we made to Manager’s Choice – having an outdated post also makes me look bad. Did I mention it has been broken for ten months?

3) The newest issue was the email notifications generated when the moderators comment on a discussion, or approve a discussion in our groups. When we commented on a discussion, there is a check box that offers email updates of that discussion. Although the check box is marked, we did not receive updates. This has been fixed as well, but without follow up. I had to do the work and keep checking and testing.

I mentioned that it is getting increasingly difficult to get a clear answer of when these issues will be resolved. I begged at times, and contacted whomever would listen. Unfortunately these problems seem to compound as the group gets larger, just when we need to manage the groups more frequently. I wish these tools were more reliable.

Humility, Twitter Reciprocity and Not Being Famous

A month ago now I was at SMX West in San Jose, meeting up with good friends and colleagues, and meeting many for the first time as well. I had the pleasure to be introduced to someone well-known in the search space. We had a few great discussions over the course of 3 days, and at one point he turned to me and said, “I am sorry, but up until today I have never heard of you.” My response was merely, “So what?”
I don’t have any aspirations for recognition from strangers, I just want to do good work. But the exchange stuck with me, and started to think, do I fall into the same trap as to quickly assume because I haven’t heard of someone that the conversation is less meaningful or interesting? And where do the new connections generally originate if not in person? On Twitter, of course.

So this past week I just turned back on my Twitter follower notifications –  the past two years or so I was getting so much spam that I had to turn it off to maintain some level of sanity (especially those that pull the follow > unfollow > follow again trick to get your attention). And I still don’t know how people can engage with 10,000 people, or even 2,000 for that matter. But I wanted to see who the real people are in real time as they followed.  Plus it’s easier to detect the spammy profiles compared to back in the day when you actually had to visit a Twitter page, so the inbox hasn’t suffered too badly.

Interestingly, I noticed that I still didn’t follow back. And not because I didn’t want to “JOIN THE CONVERSATION”. I am on Twitter because I care about the people I follow and what they say, and it’s easier to do that if I manage that list. In fact I could probably do a better job reining it in. So does that make me a Twitter snob? No, the way I look at it is this – the people we seem to respect are following the least amount of people. It’s not an exclusivity metric or a popularity contest, it is because they have curated and honed in their following list to a realistic and useful level, and when they do converse, it’s not broadcasted noise.

Anyway, back to the “I am sorry but I have never heard of you” exchange… what is most interesting to me is the assumption that this was a bad thing. My participation in the marketing community – online and offline – has been a genuine effort to contribute and build respected relationships and trust, not about fame. So I keep my circles pretty tight. I could use Twitter (or anything else for that matter) as a platform to elevate my status, but what’s the point? I can’t equate accomplishing my goals that way, it’s not how I work. Let me clarify that using social media to meet people  – especially before and after events –  is a very powerful thing. But I don’t need it as a narcissistic stroke of the ego. And frankly, there are more than enough egos in this pond to contend with, another would just be jumping the shark.

A Case Study In Outsourcing Ridiculous Titles on Twitter

It’s nearly midnight, I completed my first blog post in three months, and get stuck on a decent title. I take a break and hop on Tweetdeck to share my lament. The recommendations come fast and furious:

“Bing Biz Portal Kills Google Places SEO while PANDA is a +1 addict”

“10 Tips About Google +1, Panda, Content Farms, Google Blocking and SEO Killers For Social Media Success”

“The Panda Update Killed SEO and +1 is Social Media Awesome and Google Sucks”


“How I Increased My Site Traffic 0.0001% by Optimizing for Blekko and Not Getting Banned”


“+1 Gamechanges Panda’s Face In Fit of SEO Madness”


“I Killed SEO, and Your Next!”
(misspelling intentional because grammar is only an option at this hour)
Mind you, the post has very little to do with SEO, and nothing to do with Panda, +1, Blekko, Bing or Google. We search people need to get out more.

Very special thanks to Jon Henshaw, Dr. Peter J. Meyers, Tony Verre and Dawn Wentzell for their creative insights. But I still don’t have a decent title despite these literary gems. At least they are not going to waste.

My Big Lessons From 2010

I thought initially that this was going to be a search post with some of my biggest takeaways, but as I started to write I discovered that my biggest lessons haven’t really been the latest tactics or what has worked for me. Enough has happened in the past year, and it’s a good time to share some of the significant things I’ve learned. Not just in business, but personally (then again, the way we all work, it’s really not “just business” anyway.)

Painting by Owen Geronimo – Inferno Series

“Work” and “job” are two very different things
We are hired for a job, but what we do with our lives is work. Chris Brogan had a few posts earlier this year that really resonated with me in terms of making the distinction between the two, and he summed it up well: “Your boss isn’t looking to find meaningful work for you.” It’s about creating your own work.

Take care of your personal brand
The line between personal brands online and an employer is a blurry one, one that can work harmoniously in many cases. However just because you work for someone doesn’t mean they own your brand. If someone you work for wants you to tweet, or post, or share something that really has nothing to do with how you live your life or benefits your network, it’s ok to consider not doing it. Your audience is not your employer’s social media strategy.

Really listen to what people are saying, even if it’s something you don’t want to hear
There’s a quote by Albert Einstein that says insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Well the same thing somewhat applies when to listening what people have to say. If people are telling you something you don’t want to hear, don’t respond with questions to coax a different answer, it’s going to get you nowhere. Listen to what they are really saying.

Walking away is not failure
It’s working with what you’ve got. It takes strength, courage, and a good dose of self-respect. If you sense you are in trouble, or in a dead end situation, channel the bitterness and frustration into acceptance. Do yourself a favor and move on.

This may seem a bit heavy and  somber on the biggest party day of the year, but reflection is necessary in order to grow. (Let me clarify: I still intend to party like it’s 1999.)

Thank you to everyone for the support and generosity this past year. I would post a tribute, but I’ll leave that up to Alan, he’s far better at it than I am.
Here’s to an excellent 2011. And as Dr. Pete would say:
[Special thanks to Marty Weintraub and TJ Singleton – both who have resolved my WordPress issues from this morning.]