The Good, The Bad and The Very Ugly on Facebook

From January 9 to January 13, Real Simple magazine encouraged all of their subscribers to “be nice on the Internet”. It was the beginning of an annual movement by the women’s lifestyle publication to create a nicer Internet.  They said after looking at the “negative impact of rudeness online” they would provide expert tips on etiquette for the age of social media.

While the Real Simple movement didn’t gain national attention, it’s a reminder to all of us to watch out for our own rude online behavior…especially when it comes to Facebook.  Facebook can be downright ridiculous when you scroll through your newsfeed. Braggadocios posting about their children, jobs, money, nail polish, clothes, cats, cooking skills and everything in between can make you want to say “screw it all” and cancel your account.

We believe there are three types of Facebook users, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. After outlining those three, I’ll take you through a few tips to make sure you fall into only the first category: The Good.

The Good: This Facebook user posts when they have something important to say or a picture that is unique and fun. They don’t post to wrack up comments and Likes and they never leave you guessing with posts like “Something good is about to happen.” If something good might happen, they tell you what it is. This is a kind, courteous Facebooker who never uses profanity and posts their political or religious views in a thoughtful, unobtrusive way.

The Bad: The Bad Facebook user shows up in your newsfeed a few times per day. It’s usually to make a comment about politics, quote the Bible or post yet another blurry photo of their cat. They also like to post self-portraits where only half their face is in the photo.

The Ugly: This is a person you have definitely considered unfriending on Facebook at one point or another. Their constant barrage of complaints and emotional outbursts in the form of Wall posts is tiring and stressful for all 1,400 of their Facebook friends. They post a lot of profanity and want someone to comment or Like every post they make. They don’t interact well with others and post a lot of ambiguous information (“crying today”, “someone doesn’t love me”, “it’s going to be an amazing day” etc).

Which Facebook user are you? Hopefully you fall in the Good category, but just in case you’re on the edge, here are five tips to make sure you are a great Facebook friend.

  1. Give all the details. If something is great say what it is and why it’s great. If something isn’t great, don’t post it unless you need help from one of your friends or are willing to provide the details. For example, if you have a big move coming up and need to ask for help or want advice on moving companies, give all the details and expect to get some comments.
  2. Post only good pictures. Just because it’s Facebook doesn’t mean that blurry photos or photos where only half of your face (or dog, or child or boyfriend) is visible are okay.
  3. Limit your posts. Don’t be the person that shows up in the newsfeed every single time someone scrolls though. Post only when you really have information that’s worth sharing.
  4. Keep it clean. Keep posts clean of profanity, nudity, complaints, negativity and even consider using sarcasm on a limited basis. It can be hard to be sarcastic in two sentences and can come across as snarky instead – simply bad taste is bad form.
  5. Be a good friend. Encourage your friends, like their posts, comment with positive, helpful and caring responses.

You should treat people online how you would treat them in person. Isn’t that the way you want to be treated?

Note:  Literally everyday I get asked about Twitter as people understand Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram, Pinterest and even Snapchat.  However, Twitter seems to hard to grasp or understand.  Here is why Twitter is important.  First, Twitter is a newsfeed as people don’t go to websites any more they go to Twitter first and if they see an idea or headline they want to see or know more about they will then go to your website as most people do not think your website has all the news they want or need.  Second, Twitter is social media you can find and meet prospective clients and discuss business easily.  I am not suggesting you do as many do “thank for following me and here’s my sales pitch.”  I am suggesting like every other kind of business connection, you offer thought leadership first in the form of blog posts and great content – why your business is the best business to do business with.  Third, Twitter is fun, you can find interesting facts, topics and political pandering.  Fourth, most important Twitter is social media like a cocktail party you engage and have conversations with others not just toot your own horn.  Being nice will bring you more rewards than just being boastful.

If you need help with you Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin or other social media efforts, please email us cross@gocross.com or on Twitter @techtionary. You should also follow one of the great social media experts who has worked hard to gain followers and you should consider his services to help you – @evankirstel.

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10 Twitter Pet Peeves – The Good, The Bad & Often Ugly

If you’ve been reading ChicsTech for a while, you remember the post we did on the Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Facebook. We talked about those Facebook users who post countless photos of their cat, gross details about what their eating or doing and posting 50 times a day in general. Unfortunately, some of these users are also getting Twitter accounts and their behavior on Twitter isn’t much better.

Granted, one of the greatest benefits to Twitter over Facebook is the 140 character limit but in addition to that, so many tweets are sent each day that tweets don’t stay in your “feed” for very long.

Even so, users are using and abusing the power of the tweet and we’ve compiled a list of our 10 biggest Twitter pet peeves. Do any of these apply to you? Step away from the computer, set down your phone and tweet with care and consideration.

  1. The excessive @ tweeter. This is the person who has an @ sign in every tweet. Frankly, they’re just hoping for a re-tweet from someone with more followers than them. Hate to tell them but tweeting @ celebrities all the time isn’t necessarily going to help you grow your following.
  2. The excessive retweeter. This is nearly the opposite of the first person as this person never creates original content. They just scour their feed and retweet anything they find interesting. What’s worse is that they never edit the tweet and add their own thoughts, they just retweet verbatim.
  3. The “read my blog” tweeter. We all want people to read our blogs. But tweeting only links to your posts isn’t a good policy.
  4. Too many abbreviations. Believe it or not, Oprah does this all the time. Her feed is full of u, r, 4, 2 and multiple other super strange abbreviations. Yeah, you only have 140 characters but plan your tweets accordingly.
  5. A moving avatar image. This is so weird. It’s way too small to actually tell what you’re doing so just use a .jpg and call it good.
  6. The complainer. When one tweet a day is a whine about something, you should probably not have a Twitter account. If you don’t have something interesting to tweet, don’t tweet anything at all.
  7. Pointless profanity. There is so much needless profanity on Twitter. Way more it seems than on Facebook. Keep it clean the majority of the time and respect other Twitter users.
  8.  No description of your account. At least say your first name in the short description of you on Twitter. While you don’t have to give away your street address, come on, tell people a little bit about what they can expect from your Twitter feed.
  9. The moocher. Some people tweet for the single purpose of trying to get companies to give them free things. This goes along a little bit with number 6, the complainer, but tweeting @ companies all the time hoping for something in return is obnoxious.
  10. The person who follows everyone. If you have 10 followers and are following 10,000, there might be a problem. Don’t follow everyone immediately after you join Twitter. Choose your follows carefully to keep some sort of balance between following and followers.

Some of you may have peeves on #hashtags, we don’t but open to your thoughts.  Just like with Facebook, be a respectful Twitter user. Of course, have fun with this social network but do unto others as you would want others to do unto you.  And since we’re talking Twitter, don’t forget to follow this blog @BeautyApps for more great information.

Note:  Literally everyday I get asked about Twitter as people understand Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram, Pinterest and even Snapchat.  However, Twitter seems to hard to grasp or understand.  Here is why Twitter is important.  First, Twitter is a newsfeed as people don’t go to websites any more they go to Twitter first and if they see an idea or headline they want to see or know more about they will then go to your website as most people do not think your website has all the news they want or need.  Second, Twitter is social media you can find and meet prospective clients and discuss business easily.  I am not suggesting you do as many do “thank for following me and here’s my sales pitch.”  I am suggesting like every other kind of business connection, you offer thought leadership first in the form of blog posts and great content – why your business is the best business to do business with.  Third, Twitter is fun, you can find interesting facts, topics and political pandering.  Fourth, most important Twitter is social media like a cocktail party you engage and have conversations with others not just toot your own horn.  Being nice will bring you more rewards than just being boastful.

If you need help with you Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin or other social media efforts, please email us cross@gocross.com or on Twitter @techtionary. You should also follow one of the great social media experts who has worked hard to gain followers and you should consider his services to help you – @evankirstel.

Creating a ChicsTech Plan for Getting & Staying Organized

Most people hate being organized but yet some people love making lists for things that have to be done.  Still others for whom the very idea of creating a to-do list is, you pick the adjective that fits. The fact is that there are many benefits of making, at least, some to-do lists. In essence, a to-do list is a list that lists all the things that you have to accomplish within time frame or rather deadline, not often referred to as a “hard stop.”  These action oriented time-dependent items can be easily ticked off the list when they are completed which ensures that you don’t forget to get something done and hopefully get it done.

A completed to-do list will give you the satisfaction of being on the top of your game and you will only feel more in control of your life. There are many other benefits of to-do lists.

Benefits of Writing it Down

These to-do lists allow you to concentrate your focus on a task that is both important and urgent. This way you and possibly others to prioritize everything that you or they need to accomplish and work the way through the list in a given time frame. Putting things down in writing helps people to prioritize as well as think clearly knowing that there is no aspect of planning that you have missed. This also helps you and your teammates or colleagues focus on a particular task that is high on your priority to-do list. When you already know what you have to accomplish on a given day or even week, it becomes easy to manage the time to actually get the task done.

Another benefit of writing down ideas to comprise a to-do list is that it frees your mind. It is very similar to a movie that impressed audiences in the summer of 2011 called X-Men: First Class. There is a scene in that movie when the character Erik Lehnsherr is talking to Raven or Mystique about the fact that she could reach her full capabilities if she stopped concentrating on being normal. He told her natural self was blue skin and she should accept that and not worry about blending in all of the time. By trying to blend in, she was wasting concentration power and by looking like a normal human was forcing her brain to utilize a section of it that could be devoted to harnessing her full strength and mental capacity.

Making a to-do-list also falls under the same concept.  It frees your mind. When you have the notion in your head in regards to a task that needs to be completed, just write it down. Compile a list or put in a calendar like iSportcal, CrossPinPoints or iREcal. Then you do not have to continue to remind yourself about it or think about it as the day or days go on. In addition, writing something down reinforces that idea into your mind anyway.

Finding Like Tasks

There may be come tasks that have certain similarities. For example, you may need to speak with one person to get two kinds of information or two stores that you need to visit for specific items but that are in close proximity to each other. You will be able to work out a better routine once you can see the likenesses between the tasks.

Be Calmer

In case you are still not convinced, to-do lists are known to decrease stress and anxiety. Writing it all down gives you a clear plan of how to make it happen which in turn, removes the ambiguity out of the situation. Not only are to-do lists a great boon to effective time management, they also help you with energy management. You can pace yourself through the day, depending on what needs to be accomplished so that you do not end up too tired at the end of the day or week. This sort of touches on what was mentioned before about allowing your mind to concentrate on the task at hand rather than focusing on something that needs to be completed at some point in the near future.

Using Technology

Creating to-do lists is one of the top principles and tips of functioning time management. You will be able to assign a set number of hours or even minutes in a day to obtain the biggest as well as the minutest things that should be tackled. Many people become bogged down by the whole paper-pen aspect of creating lists. With advances in technology, this is no longer the case. You can easily use our calendar/planner (click on banner), and/or your smartphone to create effective & poignant to-do lists that you can update and change while on the run and have you complete a task. After all, there is not any reason to keep a task around if you have already managed to complete it. So make that to-list or even better put it in a calendar and stop procrastinating.

Social Media Addicted? – The Text You Take is the Life You Make

Social networks were once an extension of our everyday lives, something we used when we were bored and had some free time in our hands. Over time, socializing over the internet has taken over our lives, to the point where many people are now suffering from social network addiction and shunning real life relationships in favor of virtual ones.

A number of studies are now showing that our love for virtual socializing has become an addiction for many. Gadget-advice site Retrevo conducted a study in 2010 and found that 42 percent of people open their Facebook or check their Twitter account as soon as they wake up – sometimes before they even get out of bed. Probably more telling is the fact that 24 percent of people text message while in the bathroom and 32 percent would interrupt their restaurant meal just to answer a message. Begin by look at your own uses and think about how annoying it can be to others when you interrupt a conversation for a text message.  One of the best movie lines is from “The Devil Wears Prada” where her boyfriend says to Emily, “the person who’s call you take is the relationship you are in” when Emily takes a call from Miranda while in a conversation with him.  Also, if you’re text message is more important than the person you are with then they run your life because you don’t.

That need for virtual interaction has moved beyond social networking places. Social shopping is a new form of e-commerce that allows you to interact with virtual friends during the actual shopping experience.
Social shopping marketplaces such as Groupon act like a bazar of sorts, where you can get in touch with others who are buying or selling their wares, while shopping communities such as Kaboodle allow you to discuss products with fellow shoppers or ask for advice on an item you’re considering.

Social shopping apps such as Pose and Fashism are blurring the lines between social shopping and social networks. Pose allows you to take photos of your shopping experience (or the items you take home) and immediately upload them online, so you can get feedback from the virtual community.  Fashism is a similar app, although Pose has a “friends-only” setting option, while Fashism allows everybody in the network to see your posts. Part of the attraction of these sites relies on the fact that they allow you to “take a friend along” when you go shopping, even if it’s not a real one.

Experts believe people with low self-esteem problems or suffering from depression are more likely to become virtual addicts. Virtual lives don’t present the same level of challenge and risk than real-world connections, which is why many people decide to rely on them to find friendship and “conversation.”

Could you be a social media addict? Experts recommend looking out for these clues:

  • You spend more time online than interacting with real people
  • You cancel plans with your real-life friends in order to follow a Twitter chat or series of updates
  • You feel panicky if you’re on vacation somewhere and you can’t access your Facebook account regularly
  • How important is it to check for updates? In the Retrevo study, 19 percent of people admitted to checking their Twitter account in the middle of the night if they happened to wake up to use the bathroom, and 40 percent admitted to doing it while driving. If this sounds like something you would do, you might have an addiction problem.

As long as you use it in moderation and not as a replacement for real-life interaction and relationships, social media can improve and enrich your life. It’s only when it becomes an excuse to hide from the world that you should start to worry.

 

 

ChicTips for 5 Ways Swim Faster and Farther

Swimming is an excellent form of exercise and low impact because it’s ideal for those who are athletically inclined as well as for those who aren’t. If you’re physically fit and looking for an alternate workout, the natural resistance that occurs while moving through water tones muscles and gets your heart pumping. Those who haven’t exercised in a while will also find swimming to be ideal because the buoyancy of the water supports body weight, making exercise easier and gentler on the joints. Whether you’re a novice or a water fitness buff, learning to swim better makes the activity more effective and enjoyable. Here are five means and methods that can help you improve your swimming technique.

  • Swim More. Without regular practice it’s difficult to improve anything. Swimming at least three times each week keeps you acclimated to the water while providing you with the opportunity to practice and improve your technique. Don’t be tempted to substitute frequent water workouts with one or two long ones. It’s better to swim for three or more short sessions per week than it is to try to squeeze all your swimming workouts into one long one.
  • Swim Smarter. Swimming laps is a great workout but after doing the same thing time and again the workout becomes boring and less effective. Organize your swimming workouts and make them more effective with Swim Planner, an app for iPhone and iPad created by Tri Faster. Enter the distance you wish to swim along with your swimming ability and, within seconds, Swim Planner generates swim workouts for you to use so you can plan your exercise in a more organized manner. You can also use the iSportsCalendar to help you organize a swimming schedule.
  • Improve Technique Before Speed. It does you no good to be a fast swimmer if your technique is sloppy. While you’ll still burn calories, swimming with poor technique is a waste of energy. Study up on one or two techniques you’d like to improve, such as your kick or backstroke, and spend five to ten minutes of each workout on drills to help you improve these techniques.
  • Use Proper Swim Attire. It might not sound important but what you wear while swimming will affect how you’re able to swim. A bikini or your favorite board shorts might be perfect for sunning or surfing but they’ll inhibit you in a swimming workout. You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on a professional-type swimsuit, but purchase one that allows you to move through the water unencumbered and without worrying about your swimsuit falling off.
  • Get Organized and Get Feedback. Even if you don’t take swimming classes it’s wise to work with a coach or teacher once in a while to make sure you’re technique and form are correct. With many other types of workouts you can observe yourself and make sure you’re doing the exercises correctly. It’s hard to do this while swimming. Once a month, enlist the help of a teacher, coach or expert swimmer to observe you as you swim and provide you with helpful feedback and advice.

As your form and technique improve you’ll find that your stamina and speed naturally follow. In addition to being an effective workout, swimming can also be very peaceful, making it a great stress-buster. Use one or more of these techniques to learn to swim better to increase physical fitness and enjoy your time in the water.

 

Seven Ways You Can Effectively Enhance Your Facebook Presence

When you consider that there are more than 1 billion people and businesses on Facebook it’s clear that as a realtor you need to have a presence – your competition does! It’s not enough to merely set up a Facebook page for your office or for your business, you need to effectively manage and market it.

Here are seven ways you can get into the media fray and make effective use of Facebook:

1.  Be found. It doesn’t make sense to set up a Facebook page if you don’t spread the word or look for followers and likers. Announce your Facebook presence through the use of a link in every email that you send. When you send out flyers or newsletters or real estate brochures, make certain there is something in there that lets the recipient know you have a Facebook page. Put your Facebook URL on your website.

2. Offer quality content. Your clients don’t want you to be constantly and only announcing new products, parties, ideas or topics. While you will want to announce new ideas, you also want to offer clients and potential clients news they can use. Provide tips on style, fashion, tech, and even reminders on attractions in your area (perfect for out-of-towners that are unfamiliar with your region), links to local restaurants, links to newspaper articles about your area.

3. Offer relevant information. Provide up-to-date info about events in the area, current business statistics, offer information about sales and product comparisons and buying options, update product listings for anyone who may be interested in your product or services.

4. Gather staff/agent input. If you run an office with colleagues, ask them for input for the posts. Ask colleagues or friends to be a guest blogger/poster once a week and make certain they are prepared to respond to the comments their status updates may garner. Remember that Facebook is called social media because those who post want the conversation.

5. Have a purpose in mind. Why do you want a Facebook page? Just because the competition has one is not a good enough reason. You should have a Facebook page because you’re committed to interacting with clients and potential clients. Your Facebook page is a way to set yourself apart from the competition and to become known as the leader in your industry.

6. Set up an editorial calendar for your Facebook postings. An editorial such as CrossPinPoints, iSportsCal, iComCal or iREcal could be as simple as: Monday – tip day – whether you’re offering a moving tip, a restaurant tip; Tuesday, highlight a product or sale; Wednesday, ask a question as a way to get conversation moving. Ask about tips your followers have, ask how often your followers have moved, ask why they’ve moved, ask what they look for when they’re buying a product or service, etc.; Thursday, offer a link to a newspaper article, a banking article about mortgages and refinancing or how to buy a car, etc.; Friday, home trends updates i.e., popular colors, designs, information on swimming pool trends, etc.

7. Be consistent, reliable and persistent. If you’re planning a Facebook page you need to be consistent even if you’re only updating the page once a day and only on weekdays. If customers or clients come to your page a couple of days in a row and there has been no activity, they will likely move onto another company in the area that is consistent in his or her status updates.  Bottom-line is that if you are not committed to doing this then DON’T, because nothing is more useless than old news or a site that is NOT updated often – very often.

Facebook and other social media platforms are a great way to spread the word about who you are, what you do, and what sets you apart from the other companies in the area. Additionally, other than the time spent on the status updates, Facebook and other social media are low-cost and even no-cost ways to enhance your current marketing. Keep in mind though that your social media should work hand in hand with your other marketing efforts.

 

 

Bully Movie – Cyberbullying – The Darker Side of Social Networking

This is another view on cyberbulling by a guest blogger to get another set of eyes and views on this critical issue.

The internet, and particularly the rise of social networking, has helped people all over the globe connect. This increased ease of communication, however, has its dark side, demonstrated by the dramatic rise in instances of cyberbullying or cyber-bulling.

What is CyberBullying?

An unknown word until recently, cyberbullying describes harassment via a digital medium, such as a social network, email, chat board or even text message. Victims and perpetrators of cyberbulling are usually children or teenagers – once adults are involved, it becomes cyber-harassment.

Cyberbullying covers a huge spectrum of behavior, from ‘minor’ instances, that might involve a a few teasing text messages, to full-blown campaigns of humiliation and torment that have led teens to attempt or commit suicide. Cyberbullies might carry out all the bullying themselves, or they might enlist the help of others, who – knowingly or not – help them with their campaign.

How CyberBullying Affects Children

Cyberbullying has all the effects that in-person emotional bullying has on children. Arguably, these effects can be worse with cyber-bullying, as children often hide it from parents, teachers and friends through fear of humiliation, and because they’ve been threatened by the bullies. Cyberbullying is rarely just one message, email or text. Instead, bullying campaigns can go on for months, even years.

As the bullying is digital, it might also be anonymous, which can make it very difficult to find and stop the bully. Perpetrators have also been known to pose as other children, leaving them difficult to identify.

Several prominent cyber-bullying cases have made national headlines in recent years. In March 2012, a Maryland teenager left messages on social networking site Reddit, threatening to commit suicide if her school didn’t do something to stop her cyber-bully. In the same month, a student was convicted of a cyberbullying campaign that led to his roommate’s suicide in 2010.

How to Respond to Cyber-Bullies

Every cyberbullying case is different and will need to be treated differently. Cyberbullying victims should always keep a copy of messages they received, as this could be used as proof later. However, they shouldn’t respond to the bully, no matter what they say or do, and should try and block the bully from contacting them. Telling the victim’s school and potentially even taking legal action could cause the bully to stop. During and after bullying cases, it’s important that victims receive appropriate counseling to help them deal with the situation.

Where to Find Help

As agencies, communities and companies start to realize just how pervasive and damaging cyber-bullying is, more groups are coming together to raise awareness and encourage young people to take action to stop cyber-bullying. MTV recently teamed up with the phenomenally popular Angry Birds app, offering users the chance to unlock a hidden level in “Angry Birds in Space” if they spread the word about MTV’s anti-bullying campaign.

A cyberbully can have many different motivations for their behavior, and both victims and perpetrators of the bullying need help and support. If you or someone you know is affected by cyberbullying, or if you would like to learn more, the following resources offer support and advice:

–  Stop Bullying is a national resource that provides advice and guidance to everyone who might be affected by cyberbullying, including schools and parents, and also run a 24-hour hot line: 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

–  Stomp Out Bullying is a resource specifically for teenagers, raising awareness and running campaigns to try and stop bullying.

–  For parents, PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center gives advice and information on how to support bullied children.

“Bully” the movie tracks five students who faced daily bullying, and has sparked The Bully Project, which offers information to students, parents and teachers.

Be safe, get iPeersafe – free app.


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Gifts for Tech Chics

It’s that time of year! If you haven’t already, you need to be checking people off your gift list  and if you’re a tech girl, chances are you also will be buying gifts for one. There is a huge variety of creative, nerdy, crazy and unique gifts for women in technology, geek girls and everyone in between. We shopped through it all and came up with only the best of the best.

Since we also know you’re bound to do this shopping online, we included links to where you can purchase this insanely cool stuff.

Gift Idea #1: Grand Enter-ance Ring. This is so dang cool. It’s a ring, made by Ana Accessories, that looks like the enter key. Fits anyone’s style and looks awesome for only $11. Might be one of the favorite gifts on this list actually and it’ll go fast. Click here to find it.

Gift Idea #2: Pack of 12 cell phone and computer Santa ornaments. These are so fun in that you just want to go hang them on your tree immediately. While the store (Linens N Things) doesn’t personalize the ornaments for you, take them almost anywhere to have them printed with geeky sayings, nerdy bits of wisdom, little bites of your brain or simply, “Merry Christmas.” $100 for 12.

Gift Idea #3: Star Trek Ornament. While we’re shopping for tree decor, buy something for the Trekkie in your life with this $19 Hallmark Store Star Trek ornament, proving they make absolutely anything for your tree. No Trekkie on your list? The Hallmark Store has ornaments for every college and pro sports team as well.

Gift Idea #4: Rebecca Minkoff Keyboard Laptop Case. For the more chic among you, you’ll recognize the brand name here. For the rest of you, isn’t it cool they made a laptop case look like a keyboard???  Comes in two colors, each $75, and available on Zappos.

Gift Idea #5: Hello Kitty Netbook case. We’re still not sure what it is about Hello Kitty that has some of the geek crowd going crazy, but this enduring brand is still selling like hotcakes and rolling out new and improved backpacks. No more plastic-y pleather from first grade, this Hello Kitty netbook case is padded, has a diagonal shoulder strap and fits laptops up to 12-inch screens (when measured diagonally). It’s $59 and you can click here to find it.

Gift Idea #6: Graffiti print backpack with laptop slot. This is a very cool print and you can go to the Zappos website to check it out in detail. Did you also know that Zappos has free shipping all the time and free returns if you don’t like something? Handy. The backpack is $100 and extremely well made by Athalon.

If you’ve been looking at some of these gifts thinking they looked like great gift ideas for you…it’s okay! Buy yourself a holiday gift from this list and wrap it up under the tree, no one will know. And until next time, don’t forget to follow this site on Twitter by clicking here.

*All photos courtesy of the store or product and used via RewardStyle. The writer is a RewardStyle authorized blogger. 

Six Reasons to Tweet Tweet Tweet

Twitter, on the other hand, has barely touched 300 million, according to their blog. So it’s still small compared to the social networking behemoth, Facebook, but is nonetheless wildly important to your Internet presence.

Are you on Twitter? If not, what on earth are you waiting for? You can start by following the ChicTips blog by searching for the Twitter handle @BeautyApps or @techtionary. So set up an account, choose a super creative handle (that’s Twitter talk for username) and pick a cute but professional picture to represent you.  And for a little added incentive to get started, here are the top reasons you should be tweeting from a personal account on Twitter.

  1. Deals, discounts, coupons and short sales. If you follow your favorite brands on Twitter, you’ll be the first to hear about their special sales. Example: Banana Republic tweeted to their followers that all sale items would be an additional 50% off…but only during lunch that day. If you weren’t watching on Twitter, you might have missed some good deals and some fun lunch hour shopping. Other companies tweet coupons and discounts to thank followers for simply following them. Don’t miss out!
  2. There are fewer updates from obnoxious friends. If you get tired of the Facebook updates that range from “woe is me” to “yay is me”, try Twitter. Tweets come and go so quickly they won’t linger in your newsfeed. Plus, people can’t complain nearly as much in only 140 characters!
  3. Customer Service. Companies are hiring swarms of social media experts to manage their accounts and provide immediate customer service. There’s the famous story of a man tweeting he wanted a Morton’s steak before getting on a plane, only to find a Morton’s employee waiting with one when he landed. Other minor examples include Starbucks sending coupons for coffee mishaps and Southwest airlines informing their followers of flight delays.
  4. Job Hunting. If you work (or are planning to work) in the technology sector, chances are that your Twitter profile can be an asset in your job search. Not only should you follow Twitter accounts that post jobs, but you can also provide your Twitter feed in your resume. Of course, this only applies if you’ve been tweeting intelligent things, some of which are business-related.
  5. Simple picture posting. No photo albums, no tagging, just instant photos of what you’re doing, seeing or tweeting about.  Of course, Twitter pictures are just as “permanent” as Facebook pictures (the Internet is written in ink!) but there isn’t nearly as much involved, especially if you are tweeting from a smartphone and choose the photo icon in the Twitter screen.
  6. Breaking News. News breaks on Twitter. It’s a new fact of the Internet. Whether it’s Beyonce’s pregnancy or Tebow’s pass in the first game of the AFL Playoffs or any civil uprising in any country across the globe or even local election campaign, a Hollywood stars meltdown or showdown, news hits Twitter, starts trending immediately and can wrack up baffling numbers of tweets per second. One of the more interesting Twitter uses is a lunch truck driver who Twitters her location to lunch goers.  To be in the know, jump on Twitter and watch for trending hashtags (# signs).  Social Business College just released an onsite and online Social Media marketing course.  Click on the image for more.

Grow up! Get on LinkedIn

In the world of digital networking, LinkedIn is King. Between its robust job searching capability, job matching tools and group connectivity, if you’re not on LinkedIn, you’re missing out. But it’s more complex than just creating a profile. First, since LinkedIn shows up very high in Google searches, it’s likely one of the links a potential employer will click on when searching for more information about you. Second, it’s a more professional view of your life than any Facebook profile you’ve ever edited or created.

LinkedIn doesn’t replace your Facebook profile and Facebook definitely doesn’t replace your LinkedIn profile. Instead, together they work to create the most complete and professional view of you.

Chances are you might already have a profile on LinkedIn. But keep reading because we have ways to optimize and professionalize that profile. Start with the picture. Is the picture professional? Are you the only person in the picture? Are you wearing clothing that could at least be considered business casual? If you can’t answer yes to all of those questions, you need a new picture.

After picking the perfect pic, check out your summary section. This shouldn’t be a dry and boring reason why someone should hire you. Instead it should show some of your personality including what you love to do, what you’re passionate about and some qualities that set you apart from the job competition.

Building out your LinkedIn profile will also require detailed and accurate past employment experience. Even internships and volunteer jobs should be added before you’ve had multiple full time positions. Since companies have LinkedIn pages as well, linking yourself with the company will create an immediate, searchable network to help you begin connecting with people on LinkedIn.

After the picture, summary and past employment experience, work on joining groups and making connections with other LinkedIn members. Start with college alumni associations and college friends and move to professional acquaintances and colleagues.

You’ll notice that the more information in your profile, the more relevant the job recommendations to the right of the page become. LinkedIn uses information you’ve added to find jobs that seem suitable for your field and areas of expertise.

And another benefit of joining those alumni associations on LinkedIn? They each have job boards that are open and free to members to use. Whether you’re looking for employment or have a job to post, this is a great place to start.

One of the most fascinating things about LinkedIn is the “first, second and third degree” connections. It’s the epitome of “I know somebody who knows somebody.” You’ll notice if someone is a first degree or second-degree connection. This is another great way to search for jobs. If there’s a company you want to work for, see if you possibly have a first or second degree connection who already works there.

For additional resources about LinkedIn and setting up LinkedIn profiles, check out these two articles on technology and business site, Mashable.

How to get the most out of LinkedIn and How to Optimize your LinkedIn profile.