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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Inbound or Outbound?: Automated “Thanks for the Follow” Messages Are Terrible



As I develop my breakout session for INBOUND17, I am working to hone my critical judgments about the vast field of marketing social media phenomena down to some of the technical practices involved in inbound marketing. Outbound marketing is making ads and pushing them, whether on Facebook or TV or a blimp. Inbound marketing is making content that pulls people to your stuff. You don’t go them, they come to you, is the idea.

Photo by Mack Male
First, this is not new. Anyone who does local marketing or customer retention does this kind of stuff and has for decades. You build a trustworthy (Washington landmark!) presence (since 1958!) and they come to you when they need you.

Second, I’m not sure I buy that there is much a distinction. Hubspot’s page, linked above, suggests that blogging, keywording and social publishing are the opening steps in inbounding.

Ooooookkkkkkaaayyyyy.

And festooning an Instagram post with two dozen hashtags or SEO keywording your content to death or buzzfeeding your titles (You know, “You’ve Got to See These 7 Amazing Marketing Techniques from Successful Gurus” and you share with “Number 4 blew my mind!”), exactly how is this not really just outbound marketing? A hashtag pushes your content to new eyes. So does SEO.

I’m not saying that the difference between inbound and outbound marketing is a lie. I’m saying it’s fuzzy and mixed up, at best. The reason this matters is that I think we do all kinds of inauthentic crap in our work when we believe in this dichotomy. I think we feel like we can be more manipulative when they “choose” to seek our content. “Well, they opted in . . . ."

Just because I subscribe to your email list to download your free book chapter (ahem) doesn’t mean I want to get spammed. Just because I use your free app doesn’t mean I want updates from 12 different email addresses (“Kim from ______.com” and “Dave from _____.com”) so that I can’t unroll.me them or spam filter them.

There are lots of examples.

Blech.

If I choose to connect with your content, shouldn’t you treat me better? There’s a reason why we get so few “conversions,” to use inbound marketing speak. If I don’t like you, I won’t stay. My next blog post in this series will explore the ways we co-create those narratives, in case you are curious (See? That statement would be considered inbound marketing, but doesn’t it feel as yucky as watching a commercial if you are one of the vast majority of readers not interested enough in this topic to try to find a way to read my next post?).

To focus on the thing I hate the most, let’s talk about automatic “Thanks for the follow” messages, usually on Twitter. Crowdfire, Commun.it, justunfollow, unfollowers.me, statusbrew, etc. all offer this service.

I hate these so much I did a small Instagram series on it (inbound pitch alert!):




A post shared by Steven Vrooman, PhD (@morebrainz) on


I also created my own performatively contradictory robot DM:

“Ha!

You expected a "Thanks for Following . . . oh, yeah CLICK MY LINKS!!!" message.
Don’t those stink?

I know, making an auto message that critiques auto messages feels a bit like hypocrisy. Fine, I get that. But I'm not offering something for FREE (lol) or a reminder to check out my websiteblogfacebookinstgramgooglestoreyoutubechannel or wishing you a happy Thursday, or whatever, to give you a microsecond illusion that I am actually connecting with you for real.

We can do better than this.

If you are going to bother people with spammy DMs like this, maybe say something real about you that doesn't fit into your bio? Give people a bit more of your story. They followed you for a reason. Remind them.

Use this space for good.”

Click here to tweet this
I still have mixed feelings about it. But really, if you work in social media, don’t you usually fee at least half-bad about almost all of your practices? We bear a weight from all becoming explicit and constant marketers of ourselves. We have not yet reckoned with what that is going to mean.

To keyword/buzzfeed/clickbait this up, let’s call what happens next 

“The 5 Surprising Ways You Are Being Manipulated by Twitter!” 

See? Blech!

These are all robo DMs I’ve received over the past two years, sorted using my extreme, PhD-level qualitative data sorting skills (no, really, that’s what I do). I’ve pulled good examples in each section for you. I’ve replaced actual links with “…” in order to protect the quasi-innocent.


1.  The Basic Link Pitch


Okay, this is simple enough. You drive people to a link, no rhetoric, just a plain old simple sell. You might tell yourself that since they followed you on Twitter they probably want this. Yeah, no. Your links are all over your feed, dude, and IN YOUR BIO. I think we will not get lost trying to find the rest of your content you are pushing.

“Thanks for the follow! Like my Facebook Page …”

“Welcome! Subscribe to our YouTube channel …”

“Thanks for taking the time to show some love and follow us on twitter. Check out our Instagram…”

“Thanks for following. If you're interested in learning more about …, please visit …(website)…”.

“Thanks for following. Have you played our new game …”

“Thanks for the follow! Check us out on LinkedIn…”

"Thanks for the follow - if you get a minute - well 90 or 180 plz check out …"

"Thanks for following! Feel free to like our Facebook page as well! … :)"

Well, one of them was funny.

The last one is my favorite. I read this in a snooty Maggie Smith voice: "Although our Facebook page is quite exclusive and filled with the best followers, I hereby grant you permission to soil it with your 'like' since you have thus far proved not too disappointing." Maybe we are supposed to restrain ourselves from liking business pages that exist only to be liked by as many people as possible?? 

I always wonder about the calculus of how many links to try. And the arrangement. Facebook and LinkedIn plus the website. Your blog and Instagram? All of that? At what point, when adding more links, do you begin to feel like a bad person? The most I’ve seen in my DM inbox is 5.

Of course, that competes with the personal attempt. Sometimes people try their best to make the inbound link pitch sound personal, like a favor or an invite:


2.  The “Personal” Link Push


“Thanks for the follow please support me … don't be a stranger :)”

“Hey thanks for following me. I'd love you to check out my … podcast and let me know what you think.”

“Thanks for connecting on Twitter! I also blog on LinkedIn, so let's also connect there if you like: …”

“I'm glad we're connected. Hope you have a … day! For ways to … with joy, visit my site…”

“Thanks for following! Let's chat sometime & introduce ourselves!? My focus is ….”

“Hi ya! How you doing? I hope your well, let me know if i can help you out? I generally reply in 24-48hrs, if you need any design thinking, creative work, off the wall ideas, or strategy take a look at my work …”

“Hi, thanks for connecting! My name is …and I'd love to help you tap into the power of social media marketing for your business or personal brand. Learn more at…”

I'm just not sure the force of those greetings is quite enough to make me bite. It's like the person who comes to your door with a sample case and just wants to say "Hi" and talk about the weather. I'm not sure you can do enough smiling and nodding on my porch to make me forget why you are there.


3. The “Just Personal”


I figure people think this is either ethical or slick (OR BOTH! #ftw!!). They are spamming DMs that DON'T spew links, so that means they are cool, right, and thus not so much spam. But they are inviting a relationship (cue inbound rhetoric), so that's cool, too. 

I guess.

But then you add in the creepy auto call-out to exactly what day it is and these DMs just blow over the uncanny valley toward robopocalypse. 

"Thanks for following me"

"Thanks for the follow. Regards, …"

"Hello thanks for following."

"Thank you for the follow! Have a fabulous day."

Thanks for following me! Much appreciated!"

"Thanks for recent follow, have a great Sunday :)"

"Hey - thanks for the follow! Have a great Tuesday :)"

"Thanks for the recent follow. Much appreciated! Have a great Wednesday :)"

Not feeling it.


4. The Quid Pro Quo, Agent Starling


This one is a straight-up trade. I like the honesty of this approach, but I still hate seeing these in my inbox. It makes me feel like we are making a deal in the back of an alley:

"Cheers for the follow! Feel free to tweet me your thoughts about … I'll gladly RT if it's reasonable."

"Thank you so much for following! If you would retweet me, I will do the same for you!"

"Thanks for following me, check out my yt … pls sub and i'll return :)"

"Looking forward to staying connected! #Happy to follow you. On #instagram? More… pics here: …"

"Thanks for following me,automatically followed back"

"Thanks for connecting! I look forward to our discussions. What would you say is the biggest obstacle in your business?"

"Thanks for following me! I look forward to your Tweets!"

The last one is my favorite. Their DM robot says they will be paying close attention to my tweets, so . . . . . (hint, hint).

The second-to-last is interesting, too. I'm sure a business strategy consultant is offering you a FREE conversation here and not a pitch. Surely...


5. The Bribe


This is fun. "Here's something for FREE that is in no way content I created just for inbound marketing, which I am, now that I am pushing spammy DMs, outbounding. I swear it is valuable in its own right and not just a simple shill for my paid services."

Still, free is okay. I guess. But in an information overloaded world sometimes FREE is just too expensive:

"Thanks for the follow. Here's a link to 2 chapters of my novel …"

"Thanks so much for the follow. Check out our latest super bundle of… for ONLY $29"

"Thanks for the add! Visit our website for a chance to win a free shirt! … Our app is coming in May!"

"Hi MoreBrainz, Pleased we've connected, look forward to your tweets, Andy PS, Grab FREE Book on …."

"Thanks MoreBrainz 4 the follow! We'll keep you posted on everything you need to know to stand out from your competition with the best branding and marketing strategies. Reserve a free strategy session. :) …"

"Thx for joining me, I'm looking forward to learning more about you. If you're wondering how to access the ….(no charge) and our other resources for authors click here: ….You can also ask me questions on that site... just click the button in the navigation menu on my website that says "Ask." I only answer questions through my website because I can reply more thoughtfully there... and I can include links to helpful articles and other resources if/when needed (Twitter often blocks me when I try to do it in a DM)! …."

"I am offering 60% off … TODAY ONLY. Order TODAY, then use your Order at ANY TIME, there is NO TIME LIMIT to when you want to use your Order! Click the link NOW to Guarantee your 60% Discount Order…."

The last one kills me with its coupon. A coupon?? Really? "TODAY ONLY"!! You're not even gonna wish me a "fabulous Tuesday" first to demonstrate that your DM robot actually knows what day it is?


6. The Sell


Sometimes people just rob-pitch in these DMs. Seems unlikely to work, but it also seems like almost all of these are fake Twitter accounts that only exist to firehose pitches into the ether and hope for a .000000001% hit.

"Hi friend, are you want to be a ROCk on Social Media? View my cheap services:  …"

"Discover an easy … system to make money online. Watch this Video..."

"Increase profits with expert web development, website design & online marketing solutions."

"Thanks for following me! If you need the assistance of a virtual administrator or social media manager or know anyone that needs help managing their business please get in touch. Thanks!"
"Hello Increase your twitter 660 followers ||||-VISIT SITE-|||| ...Thank you for following …."

"Get more 619 free followers site Visit ⇒ …"

"Thanks! If you ever want help creating inbound sales send me a note! What is your blog or website address? I would love to check it out!"

"Great to meet you. Let me know if you need any ….for you or your business. Thanks so much for the follow :)"

"Hi ya! How you doing? I hope your well, let me know if i can help you out? I generally reply in 24-48hrs, if you need any design thinking, creative work, off the wall ideas, or strategy take a look at my work …"

Why?


If you are reading this and do these kinds of DMs, tell me why. Maybe there is something I'm missing here? Maybe they work for you? 

I'll bet that for every nebulous lead they generate, though, you burn a number of possibles by being spammy and obnoxious. And you don't get that chance back. If I follow you because I look at your tweets and it seems worth it, that is the good essence of inbounding, yes? But you just ruined it with ham-handed outbounding.

We can do better.

Maybe actually look at some new follows and communicate with them for real? No time for that? Use interns for that, maybe, instead of for buffering a content queue when they don't fully know your story. They can't be as bad as your robot DMs, and they will learn the story quickly under those circumstances.

Or maybe, if you claim you are "PASSIONATE ABOUT CONNECTING" you should actually, um *connect*. It's like the recent graduate in their first interview who says, in answer to the "What's your greatest strength?" question, "I'm a people person," and then silently waits to be asked questions.

We are not buying it. 





Monday, April 3, 2017

"Every Speaker Has A Story" Podcast ShowNotes: Episode 6, "South by Nor'easter"

by Steven S. Vrooman

March 15th I was supposed to be podcasting live from SXSW.

I was in New York to see my son's high school band play at Carnegie Hall:


Then this happened:


Which led to this:


And left me feeling like this:


We were stranded in New York by the blizzard called Stella, and here are Michelle Johnson, aka @doodledblooms, and I at the very minute my podcast was supposed to be starting back in Austin, Texas:



SXSW and all the interviewees I had to cancel with were all very cool about the whole thing, but it was still a disappointment.

Still, I did have some audio from some rogue podcasting I was doing at SXSWedu the week before the Stella fiasco. I interviewed a few people and had like an hour of me monologuing into my microphone.

I processed it all and made this episode, which I think is a lot of fun:

As is my tradition in these ShowNotes posts, I wanted to give you some information and links on my participants.

But first, I wanted to give a shout-out to a free service that I REALLY relied on this time. Fellow podcaster Tucker Harley has suggested Auphonic to me a while ago. It is a sound-clean-up service. I had used it in episodes 4 and 5, but it wasn't an earth-shattering level of fix. I record pretty decent audio, usually. But at SXSWedu, I was podcasting from an echo-y, crowded space. I noise-reduced it myself in Audacity, but it all felt pretty thin in tone. Auphonic really helped a lot. If you are a podcaster and do less than 2 hours a month, it is worth checking out.

Anyway, on to the stars of the show:

1. The Bystander




Massie Ritsch (@MassieRitsch) walked by, saw me talking into a microphone, and came over to find out what was going on. He is brave and assertive and, it turns out, funny. He's worked for the Department of Education and Teach for America. Now he runs the strategic storytelling company 5e, which you can check out at engage5e.com.

2. The Robot



I interviewed Milo (@robokind), the autism education robot and his human designer, Richard Margolin (@CarnivorousGnar). You can check out what they do at http://www.robokindrobots.com/.

3. The Caffeinated Man



Reshan Richards (@reshanrichards) arrived with a full cup of Starbucks. I could tell he meant business. He is a professor and the Chief Learning Officer at Explain Everything, a collaborative whiteboard app for educational settings. He's also a co-author of the book, Blending Leadership: Six Simple Strategies for Leading Online and Off.

Here he is speaking at TEDx:



We all spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out why people are not more interactive when presenting at theoretically interactive events like SXSWedu. We all have a strong belief that that is important, and we were often surprised by what we saw at the conference.

I also spent a lot of time arguing that khaki pants are a failure of the imagination. They exist only to be not-jeans and not-slacks. There is never a time when one actually *wants* to wear them.

Thanks again to all my episode contributors.

We'll try SXSW again next year :)

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

"Tweet This" Links with Images: A Simpler Guide


How important is a "TWEET THIS" bit in a blog?

I don't know, honestly. 

But let's say you want to do that. There are lots of websites that will do this for you for free, and many have tracking and all sorts of things. But maybe you want to do this yourself.

Why? Well, perhaps you like control. Okay, sure. But the biggest reason is that if you want to be able to have people tweet an image that will show up as a NATIVE TWITTER IMAGE, which will pop right there under the tweet in people's feeds, you will need to learn how to take this process apart.

I learned this from the tutorials at onlinejournalismblog.com, the first on making clickable text tweets and the second on making image tweets. But, honestly, these are not NEARLY as easy to figure out as the writers think. I had to go to Twitter developer stuff (here and here) to figure out the details. I have taken their lessons and repackaged it into an easier, image-laden, more step-by-step format.

Here goes.

For example, let's say I wanted to have this image have some kind of "tweet me" message next to it, or in a caption, or whatever (If you want to make the image itself something that will generate a tweet when you click it, go down to the bottom section of this post for that -- that is usually not what people want). Like this:


Tweet this image!
You can try it if you like, but no pressure, dude. If you did, you'd see a browser window open up with this:



Then, if you clicked the "Tweet" button, you'd make this tweet:



That's the full monty version. Maybe you just want the picture and no additional weblink, or maybe you want the "via" @you gone. Easy enough. Let's take all this apart.

You are making a temporary webpage (that's the browser window that opens) that gives Twitter instructions to make the tweet once the person who clicked logs in. You will need to hyperlink to that place. If you are a blogger and can't make something into a hyperlink, well, um, there is usually a nice button on the top of your blogging software to do that for you, or you can program it with full on "<a href . . ." html to prove that you know some code, bro. #nojudgments

You make this web destination with the "intent" command. Your code generates the webpage you need on the fly when they click on it, so all we have to do is work with the code.

Let's take a look at that code:

https://twitter.com/intent/tweet?text=How%20to%20ACETHIS:%207%20keys%20to%20public%20speaking%20bit.ly/advicetiles%20pic.twitter.com/s90qVND0Cc&via=morebrainz

As we break this down, I will demonstrate how to customize the pieces you want and to remove the parts you don't (I find this easier than instructions for how to add things. I don't know why).


The Intent Command


https://twitter.com/intent/tweet?

This is the basic setup that tells Twitter to make a page with a command to tweet. No matter what, you have to have this part, just as it is (Note that there are other "intent" commands besides "tweet," so you can knock yourself out and learn that, but that is for different tasks than this post is about).


The Parameters


These are additional instructions you can add to the instructed tweet. In this case, adding text to the tweet (I know, right, why would you NOT want this?) and adding the "via" username command:

text=

After this parameter, you input the text.

&via=

To add the additional parameter, you need the ampersand ("&"). The via command allows you to basically @ yourself, so if you don't want to do this, just leave this command and your @ off. Again, there are more of these parameters if you want to go crazy with it.


The Tweet Text


How%20to%20ACETHIS:%207%20keys%20to%20public%20speaking

These are your words, separated by the html replacement for a space (like, hitting the space bar once, you know?), which is that weird "%20". You can just write the words, drop it into a browser window and then copy the address of the new window, which your browser will convert to this form. I'd rather just program it correctly to start with.

You can also add extra %20s in order to add extra spaces and stuff like that.


A Web Address Destination


%20bit.ly/advicetiles

Do you want to make a clickable link in the text? You add that right away with a %20 immediately after the text of the tweet. You can have a super-long address if you like. Twitter will shorten it. But I like custom bitly links anyway, so I just put that in there.

If you don't want a link, you leave this out.


The Picture


%20pic.twitter.com/s90qVND0Cc

Okay. This is the hardest part. Make sure you have a beverage handy. Dehydration is a real danger when it comes to technology. You've been here awhile already.

The trick here is that you need to tweet the image first yourself to give Twitter a stable inside-of-Twitter destination to find your image for the person who clicks. 

Tweet it and then see your tweet in your feed. Then you will want to click to open the tweet. An easy place to click to do this is the time stamp I circled in red here:




When you do that it will open up in a white subwindow on top of the greyed-out rest of the page. You will need to RIGHT-CLICK on the white space:





Then select "View page source" from the menu that will appear:



That will bring up a huge page full of the code that renders this tweet with this image. It will look horrible to most of you, with lots of text like this:



You are going to totally chill about this mess. Remember, you have that beverage. Sip it. Good. Sip again. Calm the hell down, now.

You are doing all of this because this is the only place you can find the exact Twitter location for your image that you tweeted. The only place. If there was a friendlier place, I promise I would have sent you there. 

Okay, when you are on that page of the the page source text spew hit "Ctrl F" (that means holding the "Ctrl" button down [somewhere at the corner of your keyboard] an then hitting the letter "f" at the same time). This opens the "Find" menu. I'm using Chrome, so it looks like this:


Yours might look different.

You are going to search for "pic.twitter." Your browser might start highlighting things on the page as you type. That's okay. Wait until it gives you the full phrase. Then you will have that and a string of characters which end at the </a> tag for closing a link. In my case it looks like this:

pic.twitter.com/s90qVND0Cc

If you remember what we are doing, you are going to highlight that and put it in our Twitter command:

%20pic.twitter.com/s90qVND0Cc

Of course, you will add that %20 at the beginning to make sure everything works right.

If it does, it will attach the picture to the tweet they send. Their display on the webpage you created for them will have the "pic.twitter/etc" in their tweet window, but in their actually tweet, that command will convert to the image. You can see that again in the first three images in this post.

Hey, look at that! That was the hard part!


The Via Command


morebrainz

This is where you direct their ultimate tweet to @ you. The via command, which you learned how to append to this mess earlier, is followed by your Twitter username WITHOUT THE @. 


Putting It All Together


So there you have it. You can now recreate this feature.


https://twitter.com/intent/tweet?text=How%20to%20ACETHIS:%207%20keys%20to%20public%20speaking%20bit.ly/advicetiles%20pic.twitter.com/s90qVND0Cc&via=morebrainz

I still can't guarantee anyone would actually click anything on your blog to tweet it, but that's a different sort of problem.

Making the Image Itself Clickable


Earlier I suggested you might not want to do this. 

How do your readers know that if you click the image it will tweet it out? You could have a text message next to it telling them to, but then you are not really adding anything to their experience. 

I suppose you could establish a pattern in your blog that all pictures are tweetable? But do you really want them all to be tweetable? And how are new readers going to learn this pattern? 

Anyway, if you want to do this, you have to do all the steps above and then you have to edit the html of your picture to make it into a link. Blogger or Wordpress do not do this on their regular "Compose" or "Visual" menus. You might use another blogging platform, but who are we kidding?

Each platform lets you go into html and you can change all of this. Here's the way Blogger made the html for my first image in this blog:

<a href="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-v81Hhb7JQCw/WJ5iVqY-jyI/AAAAAAAAVFU/TLKN2VqraGsHRjLD7oc8trofYRNpEGz_wCLcB/s1600/acethis.png" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><img border="0" height="400" src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-v81Hhb7JQCw/WJ5iVqY-jyI/AAAAAAAAVFU/TLKN2VqraGsHRjLD7oc8trofYRNpEGz_wCLcB/s400/acethis.png" width="400" /></span></a>

Yeah, ok. Part of this is that Blogger makes images into links to the image itself. Weird, I know, but it means that when you click an image in a blogger blog it opens up that image full-screen, like opening a tweet. This way you can make the image smaller in your blog and they can click to blow it up. 

Yeah, I know. Whatever, right? Here's the thing: that coding makes it easier to turn an image into something that takes people somewhere else when they click it. 

In this case, you want to replace the first instance of the web address in the code, the bit in yellow, with the entire text of the customized web address you built earlier in this blog post. The yellow bit of the link code is the destination the user will go to when they click. The second time it shows up, the pink, is what the page displays that is clickable, which you don't want to change. 

In Wordpress, an image is coded more simply, like this :

<img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-18" src="https://comm339.files.wordpress.com/2017/02/acethis.png" alt="acethis" width="1987" height="1987" />

That is the equivalent of the pink portion in the Blogger code. So you'd have to add all the rest: the red and the yellow (replaced with the other code you developed before).

So here's how it turns out:




Incidentally, all the rest of the code commands in these two examples, anchors, spans, classes and margins, are instructions for how to render the image on the screen. Being able to manipulate the code for that is not exactly fun if you don't like learning html and css, so probably just leave that stuff the way your blog made it for you.


Conclusion



I still don't know if any of this matters! But that's kind of like all of blogging and social media rolled up into one dilemma, right? You can try it and see.

Likely, you are here because you already think it is a good idea and, like me, you thought the other guides were too hard to get through correctly. Or perhaps someone at your newly acquired social media job or internship said, "Hey, could you make click-to-tweet stuff without using that website?" and you said "Yes I can," because that's how Sheryl Sandberg told us to roll. 

Good luck.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Communication Advice Tiles

by Steven S. Vrooman

I have been working these up as a way to allow workshop audiences to have takeaways they don't have to write down or take a picture of a slide to get. I share them to the group via social media and my slidedeck does not have to cover this kind of information in a dump because they have it. They also have my social media contact for questions and they are in nice, tweetable or instagrammable form.

Feel free to share these freely if you find them helpful. Click to tweet each image if you like. Thanks!



Tweet this!

Tweet this!
Tweet this!


Tweet this!

"Every Speaker Has A Story" Podcast ShowNotes: Episode 5, "My Greatest Success"



This episode is about how 8 speakers found their greatest success by (spoiler alert!) being able to read the situation and adapt. Like a manuscript from the Middle Ages, in the show I call each of these a Tale.

1. The Tale of the Empty Room



Dr. Kathy Gruver (@KLGruver) is a speaker and writer on natural health and stress.



She is the author of multiple books, including The Alternative Medicine Cabinet, and she is a trapeze artist. Yes. Trapeze!! See?



Her website is www.kathygruver.com.

2. The Tale of the Crowded Room




Beth Ziesenis (@nerdybff), is someone we've met before. She reviews programs and apps and speaks on them all over the country. Here she is taking down one of my favorites (or at least it was until now) Evernote:




She posts reviews to YouTube all the time, her latest book is called Nerd Know-How, and her website is www.yournerdybestfriend.com.

3. The Tale of the Sojourner




Billy Arcement (@BillyArcement) speaks and consults on leadership:




He is the coauthor of Journeying on Holy Ground, and his website is searchingforsuccess.com.

4. The Tale of the School




John Donahue-Grossman (@DonahueGrossman) presents at schools, service organizations, hospitals and churches. He speaks on bullying, self-esteem, wellness, sexuality, spirituality and parenting. In his signature talk he arrives at the school in his role as Ray, who is homeless, and slowly transforms:




His website is donahuegrossman.org.

5. The Tale of the Inventor




Julie Austin (@SpeakerSponsor) is an inventor and entrepreneur who innovated a new business model for speakers to get compensated even for free speaking engagements at speakersponsor.com. She speaks on innovation and creativity:



6. The Tale of the Shirt



Wolfgang Wolf speaks about disability and rehabilitation. After a stroke, he began his outreach as a speaker as as the founder of Computers Against Isolation, which brings technological means of communication to disabled people. His website is thestrokementor.com, and his book is called How to Survive after a Stroke.




7. The Tale of the Nerds




Angelica Mata (@matageli): "Quirky social media technophile. Pop culture junkie. Aspiring amateur cosmonaut and global revolutionary. Karaoke enthusiast. Angelica is a Digital Marketing Specialist, filmmaker, and TEDxSanAntonio Programming Chair. Every story is important. It’s her mission to help bring stories to life, visually captivate audiences, cultivate relationships, & express a vision that resonates well into the future."Find her at matageli.com. I met her at TEDxSanAntonio, where she was curating the best talk in our year, Eric Dorsa's "How Dressing in Drag Made Me Uncover Myself." 



8. The Tale of the Challenge


Bryan Rutberg (@BryanRutbergMe) is a communication and leadership facilitator, consultant and speaker with his firm 3C Communications. He's even a speechwriter! Here he is giving some great tips on how to handle Q&A, one of many sets of tips you'll find on his blog/vlog:




His webiste is 3ccomms.com.