Managing Your Social Media

We are becoming overloaded with a surfeit of social media sites and tools. We can either break under the load of options or we can find ways to cope, to manage our social media.

Bryan Person came all the way from Boston (6 hour drive) to talk to Podcasters Across Borders about how he manages these tools – and we’re glad he did.

Bryan Person-1 First, you have to make hard decisions. Make choices among the essential tools.

Develop a routine to allow you to cover things quickly. For example: Email; Twitter; Facebook; Calendar; Blog Reader. Then you’re good to go.

Using Tagging to save items associated with terms that are meaningful to you.

Prune your feedreader subscriptions. In fact, think of deleting all of them. You’ll quickly re-subscribe to those feeds that really matter to you.

Trust your network for recommendations. You don’t need to subscribe to or read everything. If one of your friends spot something that he or she thinks is important, they’ll pass it along to you.

Finally, be prepared to step away. Turn your computer off. Enjoy life. Then you can come back to the computer refreshed.

Getting your podcast seen as well as heard

To find information, most people search for a term on Google, Yahoo or MSN. And these Search engines don’t really care about sound. They care about text.

So, how do you, as a podcaster get Google to notice you?

Julien Smith-1 That’s the question that Julien Smith provided a practical, straightforward answer to this question in his presentation at Podcasters Across Borders.

First, podcasters need to become more than just a podcaster. You need to be Web producers. That means communicating through a blog, communicating through Twitter, through forums, through a variety of channels and media.

Second, you must pay attention to the keywords that people are using to find you. Subscribe to sites like SEOBook and SearchEngineLand to learn basic Search Engine Optimization techniques.

Don’t forget to post show notes for all of your podcasts. Use key words that describe your content.

Julien has many more tips. But, he only had 30 minutes for his presentation. So, if you get a chance to attend a session with Julien, grab it. You’ll learn a lot.

Making Audio Stories that Don't Suck

Tod Maffin entertained and educated the Podcasters Across Borders attendees with his From Idea to Air presentation.

Tod Maffin From Idea to AirIf you haven’t seen Tod give one of his keynotes or workshops, you absolutely have to. The best presenter bar none.

I’m not going to be able to do justice to Tod’s full presentation. He’s much better than I make him sound. And sound is the operative word. Tod doesn’t just offer sage advice in an entertaining way. He peppers his presentation with sound clips that make the points he wants to convey.

So, how do you tell great stories?
Off the top. If you want to tell good audio stories, don’t be predictable. Don’t follow a formula. Don’t be boring.

Start with an idea. And remember, that YOU are the content. Look around you for story ideas. Ask family. Ask friends. Never throw away clips. The bloopers and off-story clips may let you approach the story from a different, more playful angle.

Revisit old stories. Epilogues to past stories can be poignant and compelling.

Look for inspiration in wallpaper – the stuff all around us. The commonplace. Those things that are part of our routine and that we take for granted. Like ordering a cup of coffee leads to a story on oversized servings. Why the close buttons on elevators never work.

Use comparisons to create images in your listener’s mind. Like …a 20 oz. drink? You can buy 20 oz. baseball bats.

Take your recorder everywhere. You never know when you will encounter a great opportunity to capture a story as it occurs. And things captured as they occur have an emotion and an unpolihsed genuineness.

Don’t overedit. Sometimes the raw tape – with the pauses, the sighs, the silence – can be much more arresting than any edit or voiceover.

You can structure you story around several different devices.

The universal truth: It throws something into relief that strikes a chord with us and causes us to nod unconsciously. You can lead into this with the phrase, “There’s something about…” This sets up the listener to listen for something more profound.

The anecdote and reflection: This is the basic essence of storytelling. Bringing meaning to what you’ve just heard. Tell a little of the story. Reflect. Tell a bit more. Reflect. Dip in and out of the story. The audeince will follow throughout.

Bob Goyetche, Mark Blevis & Mitch Joel listen to TodSixty second scenes: Actively listening requires the brain to compose images. Allow time for this to happen. Provide audible “audio on-reamps” – music, an audio effect or even silence – to signal to the listener that they should be ready for a change of scene.

Emotional charges: Modulate the emotions through the story. Unrelenting seriousness is unlikely to sustain an audience’s attention in the way that a story that alternates poignancy with a lighter mood to bring balance.

Scoring: Use music. But don’t use music to comment on the story. It can be hackneyed (Pink Floyd’s Money in a story about the rich). Or it can actually pull the listener out of the images they have created in their mind.

There are three critical values for a compelling character.

  1. Your protagonist must be on a proactive quest toward a goal (love, redemption, money)
  2. Something is preventing him or her from achieving that goal (“force of antagonism”)
  3. The protagonist is risking something to achieve the goal. Risk is the secret sauce in making people care about a character.

Tod Maffin speaks at PABThe quest should have not be linear. There should be progress followed by setbacks followed by progress. Drama and comedy rest in the “Gap” between what a character expects to achieve and what they actually achieve. This gap provides reason for the protagonist to attempt a different approach to achieve their objective. And at each turn, the risk increases.

If life would go back to normal if the character failed to achieve her objective, then the story is not worth telling. It fails the risk test.

Tod presented much more on how to do this. But I’m not going to cover that here. You simply have to see Tod live to get the rest. And trust me. It’s the best presentation of this material you’ll ever see.

Podcasting Basics

Mark Blevis and Bob Goyetche kicked off Podcasters Across Borders with a podcasting basics session. I’m a beginner podcaster and the guys provided me with an overview of what I need to get started.

Bob GoyetcheBasic equipment

The MXL 990 microphone is a good starter mic. Cost: About $150.

Add a pop screen to suppress the popping of your ‘P’s. Cost: $25 to $50.

Add a mixer will enable you to tailor your sound. Tod Maffin uses a Behrenger Eurorack 1002. Cost: $150.

You can mix either directly into your PC or into a recorder. The Samson Zoom H4 portable recorder is a good choice. Cost: About $400.

If you record directly into a computer, Apples come with GarageBand built in. PC users can download the FREE open source Audacity audio editor and recorder. Cost: Free

Cleaning the sound

SoundSoap 2 will help to filter extraneous noise. Cost: $130


That’s up to me. Yikes!