Sunday Morning Soliloquy - Musings of an Urbanite: July 2009

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Blogher '09 Through The Eyes of an Un-Mommy Blogger


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I was fortunate enough to attend my first Blogher conference last week, Blogher: In Real Life. I say fortunate because Blogher '09 sold out, as did LobbyCon, leaving me high and dry, without a ticket to the highly anticipated Blogher '09 conference. A few days prior to the conference, I started to Tweet that I was looking for a ticket. @secndcitysoiree responded to my tweet and put me in touch with @simasays who was not able to use her LobbyCon ticket due to a scheduling conflict. After a few tweets with @simasays I scored my "miracle ticket" to LobbyCon.

LobbyCon gave attendees access to the trade-show floor in the Sheraton Chicago where swag bags were plentiful. Many of the vendors had contests and offers. I was able to attend the lunch sponsored by Ragu

Ragu bottle made of veggies


I was also able to attend some parties for which I was grateful. Most of all, I was able to make some great connections with other bloggers and take note of some the brands and companies who "get" the social media space.

The Crowd
Just as I suspected, bloggers, as a whole, are not a pretty bunch. I likened "the blogger" to radio personalities. In radio, people say "I got a face for radio", the same goes for bloggers, many of them have a body best suited to hide behind the internet. I guess the pounds have a tendency to pile on when you're sitting at a computer for 16 hours a day. I know, I have to FORCE myself to step away and part take in physical activity (and life in general for that matter).

The Mommy Bloggers were quite easy to spot. A few of them proudly paraded around with their babies in strollers. Though this is a baby-friendly environment, I found this to be odd, who brings their kid to a conference? I tried to keep an open mind, this is their time, they are the ones that are being celebrated at this conference so I imagine this is their time to do whatever they want. Like Sarah Palin, they can bring their kids with them every where when it likely makes more sense for the kids to be at home. Maybe the conference should offer day-care service for the kids (perhaps they do and I am unaware). I know that if I was in a break out session, I certainly would not want a screaming child interrupting the session.

One Mommy Blogger drama that I missed was the Nikon incident that was apparently a trending topic on Twitter. Now, this is hearsay, I heard it at the closing cocktail reception on Saturday. Nikon decided to throw an "invitation only" party at nightclub in Chicago for certain bloggers. My guess is that they selected women whom they believed would be influential and write about their products and the party on their blogs. They provided limo service from the hotel to the party which took place at night. Certain Mommy Bloggers attempted to attend the event with their children and were turned away. This turned out to be a huge mess and the Mommy Bloggers got on Twitter and fired back with horrible comments about Nikon. Again, I did not read or see any of these comments.

My thoughts on the Nikon situation. First of all, by profession, I am an event marketer who spent years in sponsorship, event marketing and event planning for Ad Agencies and large Professional Services firms. I have developed, planned, executed events on a very large scale for Fortune 100 companies, and on the flip side, I have put together events as small as Sweet Sixteens. The number one rule when hosting a sponsored event (or any event aside from your wedding) is, know your audience. Nikon rented out a trendy nightclub for this private event in an effort to host something upscale and cool; which would have been great but for a different audience. Nikon tried to create allure and buzz by hosting an "invite only" event but what they did not realize is that the blogger community (particularly the Mommy Blogger community) is more about sharing and embracing versus creating exclusivity.

I also worked as an Event Planner (which is different from being a marketer, it is more tactical and less strategic). What sucks is when you, the host, try to do something nice for guests and people act like total assholes. People do not appreciate the efforts of the host, they do not take into consideration that someone is spending a lot of money, time and energy so THEY could have a good time. I admit that Nikon threw the wrong party (or invited the wrong people) for this conference but I defend Nikon at the same time. The Nikon event was at NIGHT, it was not during the conference, it was supposed to be a HOT party at a NIGHTCLUB! What part of limo service, nightclub, dancing, music, alcohol, sexy and cool says to someone, "I think I am going to bring my kid"?? Finally I want to stress, it was NOT up to Nikon whether or not kids could attend, it IS AGAINST THE LAW for children to attend. The Nikon event took place in a venue that has a liquor license where one must be 21 to enter. Simply put, Nikon invited the wrong people to this event. Blogher is NOT just about Mommy Bloggers, there are many of us out there that blog about hot, fun, cool stuff that has nothing to do with the Mommy experience and we also attend Blogher. The event producers messed up, next time, they should hire me to plan their events!

The Vendors
There were some great vendors at this event. Hats off to many of these sponsors who really get it! They understand the audience, they provide relevant samples of their products, they did a great job with promoting their booths, they engaged people and encouraged them to go back and tweet about the products. Here are some of my favorites.

Ragu
As this blog post states, I am the Un-Mommy blogger, I don't have kids, I don't want kids and I totally don't get the Mommy experience. I see a child and I wince. But, I thought Ragu did such a good job with the lunch they sponsored. They hired Larry Abel Designs to create a wonderful space and the food was also very good. Attendees were very aware of who sponsored lunch, the space was totally Ragu yet it was beautiful, tasteful and made sense.

Ragu jar made of veggies


Ragu Veggie Center Piece


Michelin
I really liked the Michelin booth, the Michelin man was a great hit. Michelin was there taking photos and then uploading to their Flickr page.

Me and Michelin man


Weber Shandwick
A big shout out goes to Weber Shandwick who totally gets it! They had a few clients out there: All booth with the Laundry Fairy as well as the Suave Booth where they were giving free blow outs. Suave also was giving out full sized bottles of product which was a great take away. And, these great booths were also produced by Larry Abel Designs. I had the pleasure of meeting the gentlemen behind these wonderful designs, very nice and a professional team.

All booth at blogher 09


All booth at Blogher 09


Other Mentions
Tide and Bounce - a fantastic booth, great giveaways and Tim Gunn!! The ladies love Tim Gunn.

I also had a great conversation with one of the brand managers from the Tide team. He gave me his thoughts on one of the panels. He thought the panel on monetizing your blog would have been presented differently if it were directed to men. He said "Men would not talk about feelings, they would be more interested in a step by step approach."

The Microsoft Bing room was nice. They had refreshments and a demo on Bing.

Quaker Oats had a huge presence. They had multiple items to sample. One item I liked in particular was their new rice cracker chip - light and tasty with fewer calories.

Motorola did a good job promoting their new phone Karma, lots of bells and whistles for social media.

Zappos, always a leader in this space, had a really fun booth, like a confessional. You stepped inside and described what it is like to "walk in your shoes".

And...my favorite was Picnik! Online photo editing software that is like Photoshop for dummies. Perfect a dummy like me!!

Finally, a few shout outs to people I met.
- The ladies from E.S.C. Forever Media
- Glamma Grandma
- The delightful Kerri Morrone Sparling who write Six Until Me
- And my new friend Grace Davis who writes State of Grace

I had a great time and cannot wait for Blogher '10

Friday, July 24, 2009

Me and The Michelin Man at Blogher


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Me and the Michelin Man at Blogher in Chicago! This was a great day, I made tons of connections, met some awesome people, picked up some cool items. Can't wait to go back tomorrow and cannot wait to write about it all on Sunday!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Willis Tower Skydeck - THE LEDGE!


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Today, I had to be at The Willis Tower at 3:00 p.m., when I finished with my meeting, I decided it was too late to go home and continue working. I thought it would be a fun idea to take a trip up to the Skydeck of Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) and walk out onto that much talked about LEDGE. If you're still unfamiliar with "The Ledge" - it is on the 103rd floor, or 1353 feet in the air, and it is a glass box that extends 4 feet OUT of the building. You feel as though you are suspended in mid air!

Dude's sneakers on the Skydeck


When I arrived, the line to the entrance was excruciatingly long. The crowd can be likened to the group of tourists who choose to take part in the Freemont Street experience in downtown Las Vegas. The elevator ride is impressive, only 60 seconds to climb 103 stories, pretty cool. The film everyone was required to watch gives one a perspective on the history of the building, formerly known as Sears Tower, as well as a brief history of Chicago architecture. The film left me beaming with civic pride. However, the wait time to get upstairs....TOTALLY KILLED ME! I walked in the door at 3:30 P.M. and did not find myself outside again until 5:00 P.M. I strongly suggest paying the extra $15 for the "fast pass" if you can afford it. The fast pass will help you avoid the line to get upstairs and you will bypass the movie. If you do not purchase the "fast pass", go to the Skydeck website and purchase your tickets online beforehand. Purchasing your tickets online will save you about a half an hour.

When I first arrived upstairs on the Skydeck, I walked around and snapped some photos with my Blackberry camera. I had not planned on visiting the Skydeck so I didn't bring my actual camera. (I USUALLY carry my digital camera in my purse, unfortunately, not today).

Chicago Skyline View from Willis Tower


Me on the Willis Tower Skydeck


My goal was to head STRAIGHT to The Ledge so I could stand out there and face my fear of heights! I walked all the way around the Skydeck until I finally arrived at The LEDGE. I waited in line to get out there for about five minutes. When I first stepped out onto The Ledge, I felt as though I was going to throw up. I quickly stepped off the ledge and let others get out there. Finally, I gathered the courage to DO IT and took another step out onto The Ledge. The funny part was, I found myself grasping tightly onto the wall, as if that would help me should The Ledge break free and fall to earth. I never could make it all the way out the four feet to the glass wall, it was far too scary for me.

My Feet Standing On The Ledge
MY FEET IN MID AIR!


Leyla Standing on The Ledge at Willis Tower
THAT LOOK ON MY FACE...ITS FEAR!


I took this last photo while I as standing on my ledge. There are three or four ledges total. Each ledge can see the one next to it. From here you get a good view of this scary experience.

Willis Tower Sky Ledge


Memorable Gifts - Find it! Personalize it! Buy it!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Event Marketing - a Retrospective


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Lately all I talk about is the web, online marketing, social media, analytics, blah blah blah. My true love is Event Marketing, that is where I started my career and it is the space where I would consider myself truly an expert. I wanted to take a look back to some of my more successful programs and some of the more fun moments of my career.

My event career started all the way back in college, I knew I wanted to work in events from the time I was a teenager. I went to school for PR/Communications and in college I was the PR Director of the Undergraduate Student Government where my first event was a Voter Registration Drive. We hosted the drive outdoors and had a band (I can't remember who it was), I had the pleasure of booking the band (by phoning their agents in LA), negotiating the contract and setting up the entire event. I was 20 years old and I was in charge of managing a $4000.00 budget for the execution of the event and the promotion of the event. It was awesome. The pleasure of bringing people together for an entertainment purposes and being able to deliver a greater message was extremely satisfying.

Upon graduation, it was very difficult to find a job. The job market was terrible at that time and entry level PR jobs were paying about $18K annually. I struggled for about a year and a half before I got my first job in advertising at DDB. I worked in now dismantled group called Beyond DDB, we handled event marketing, promotional marketing, sponsorship, direct mail, all the "below the line" work, etc. The way I got the job will have to be another blog entry because it is a story in and of itself.

At DDB, I worked on several different projects for major companies and brands, probably some of the biggest projects of my life and I was likely too young to realize that it was kind of a big deal. My most memorable project was a cause-marketing program we did for a financial services client. Consumers nominated their favorite charities and wrote a brief description of why they felt strongly about their charity. I put together a scoring system for the charities and we chose a total of five charities to receive donations. My favorite part of this was reading the heart-felt entries from the consumers, how inspired they were or the assistance they received from their charity of choice. We were able to donate money to some lesser known, smaller charities that were doing really great things yet probably had a harder time raising funds.

Another favorite job of mine was for a smaller, promotional marketing agency with large CPG clients. I was hired to work on the sponsorship of a large scale, four day, festival on the East Coast as well as other promotional marketing programs that came up. I really liked planning the festival, there were many arduous details to iron out with the festival producers and I liked the process of figuring out all of the many problems. This event was beneficial for the client because of the tremendous publicity received on the East Coast.

My favorite project while with this agency was working with a client who was a one of the sponsors for the MTV Music Awards. We planned a singing contest for this client in multiple markets and winners of the contest won a trip for two to the MTV Awards. I got to be the chaperon for the winners on-site. In addition to managing the contest, I planned all of the on-site events for the winners with the climax being a private meet and greet with the band Destiny's Child at a recording studio in Manhattan. And, of course, a trip to the Awards show. I thought the highlight would have been the Awards but that wasn't the case. The highlight of this project turned out to be watching how thrilled and excited these kids, the winners, were to meet Beyonce. Watching them light up, their enthusiasm and the their excitment was not something I was expecting. It took me back to a time when music ruled my world and it was tremendously rewarding to be able to give that night to those kids - a night where their dreams came true.

Me at the MTV Awards


More recently, I worked for a venue where the majority of my events were planning B2B Customer Events. I particularly like planning customer events because you can literally SEE them working. Sales guys are able to communicate with their customers on a very personal level, away from their wives and bosses, get them drunk, entertain them, and hopefully, continue or grow their relationship. I like fast paced work environments and at this job, I was able to plan upwards of 30 events per month depending on the season. I had clients with significant event budgets for one-off events, clients one would not expect, like Plastics or Chemical companies. These clients loved hosting over the top events and I had the pleasure of throwing them.

aerialist



Conventioneers with Samba Dancers




The Ever Popular "Shot-Luge"

Aside from my professional work in Event Marketing, I also do a lot of charity work where I am able to utilize my skills as an "expert" in planning, promoting, and executing events. For several years I worked with the Cinema Chicago and the Junior Board to plan various events.



Thursday, July 9, 2009

Tweetdeck and Hootsuite – Huh, What?


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Tweetdeck and Hootsuite are two Twitter tools that are useful for marketers, business owners or anyone who is a "Power Tweeter". I think I just made up that term. I started using Tweetdeck several months ago but they recently upgraded their platform and now allow users to send "tweets" from multiple accounts. Hootsuite, on the other hand, I only joined last week and I am stumbling my way through educating myself on the benefits of both. This post will take a look at both Tweetdeck and Hootsuite and provide a comparison and contrast of each tool and why you may find each one useful.

To start off, both platforms merge with your Twitter account. Once you sign up, you log in and both platforms access your Twitter account. Both platforms also allow you to "tweet" from, or manage, multiple accounts, simultaneously if you wish. Many of you may be asking "Why do I need these?" Well, if you are promoting a business on Twitter, even if that business is your blog, you may follow many people and many people may follow you. The web based version of Twitter can be great but these two platforms offer various add-on features that make tweeting and reading tweets a lot easier.

Tweetdeck
Because I am more familiar with Tweetdeck, I will start with the benefits that I have personally found valuable. One thing to mention that is fairly important, Tweetdeck is an Adobe based product and you must download and install on your computer. Tweetdeck is great for managing your inbound tweets – reading posts from the people you follow.

  • Tweetdeck allows users to create columns where they can organize the people they follow. My columns are as follows:
    • Social Media – any social media "expert" from whom I wish to learn or gain information
    • Bloggers – various bloggers whose blogs I like to read
    • Travel – anyone who tweets about travel (hotels, orbitz, travel bloggers, etc.)
    • All Friends – Everyone I follow shows up here
    • Replies – anyone who mentions my handle @leyla_a
    • Direct Messages – where I can read all of my "direct messages"
    • News – this is where I get all my news
    • Chicago – where I follow local tweeters
    • Event Marketing – I set up a "search" column, if someone mentions Event Marketing, sponsorship or something related, they show up here
    • Celebrity – my weakness and yes, I do follow @plusk
  • The greatest part of Tweetdeck (for me) is the ease of the "re-tweet" – if someone posts something I like, I hover over their picture and an option is given where I can re-send their tweet (the re-tweet is a goal for everyone on Twitter, you want your posts to be re-tweeted. The ultimate honor you can pay someone is re-tweeting their post.)
  • Hover over someone's photo and you are given the option to: reply, re-tweet, view their profile, group this person, favorite them, mark as read, block, follow, unfollow, etc.
  • Tweetdeck allows you to follow "search" items in real time. For example, I am notified any time someone mentions "event marketing". This is helpful because I run a business that focuses on Event Marketing, if someone is looking for assistance, I can send them a message and offer my services.
  • Allows for shortened URL service with Tiny URL or bit.ly with the click of a button so you can easily share links (and you should)
  • Connects with Facebook – should you wish to update your status from Tweetdeck
  • Tweetdeck sits on your desktop and it can be minimized. There is a notification (that you can disable) in the upper right hand corner of your screen. When someone tweets, the notification pops up on the screen indicating from which "group" (bullet pointed above) the tweet was received. If I notice that a tweet is an @reply, I read it straight away!
Hootsuite
A newer Twitter tool that seems to be more beneficial for those who are more interested in tracking the tweets they send vs. the tweets they receive. You can manage multiple accounts, you can send tweets as well as track and measure the tweets you've sent.

  • Manage multiple accounts, send tweets and receive tweets for multiple accounts – either simultaneously or individually
  • You can auto-send tweets from Hootsuite – this is a great tool if you don't want to sit at your desk all day sending out tweets. You can set the time and date for your tweets to be released.
  • You can add multiple USERS for each account. If you have a team sending out your Tweets, you can set your account to identify which user is sending the tweet by their initials (called auto initial) – should you wish to make this known. Of these users, you can allow each one access to certain accounts or all accounts depending on your need. If you are managing a personal account and a corporate account, you only need ONE Hootsuite account, you can give access to others for your corporate account but not your personal account.
  • Hootsuite allows users to enable Google Adsense ads with their tweets using ow.ly to shorten the URL (I don't know how I feel about making the waters murky with ads but I am not one to stop anyone from making $$)
  • You can set up an auto-tweet that will send out your RSS feed – great for bloggers who want to send tweets for their latest blog entry
  • Probably the biggest benefit that one can have from Hootsuite is the ability to track your statistics
    • Similar to bit.ly (a URL shortener that tracks your clicks), if you use the Hootsuite URL shortener ow.ly, you can track how many clicks your URL receives
    • The "Stats" tab gives you an aggregated statistic for all your tweets
    • You can filter your stats by date
    • You can dig deeper into your stats by clicking on the Profile tab then the Sent tab, if you click on the bar chart, it pulls up stats on each individual tweet
  • Hootsuite allows you to search your tweets, similar to Twitter search but Hootsuite saves your search keywords as buttons and you can click on the ones you would like to use
  • Hootsuite also has a Ping.fm integration and a bookmarking option – both of which I have yet to check out
  • I did not notice a Facebook Connect option with Hootsuite


Many tools are out there for Twitter users and there are new ones being developed all the time. Ultimately, the platform you use depends on how often you tweet, why you tweet and what your end goals are. If you are interested in organizing and reading tweets from others, Tweetdeck is great for that. If you are more inclined to use Twitter for out-going Tweets and want to track the number of people that open your links, how far your tweets reach - Hootsuite is very useful in that respect. As I mentioned, using bit.ly has a very similar tracking tool, however, with Hootsuite everything is in one place and you can manage various other things simultaneously. One thing I've learned is to take these statistics with a grain of salt, I find that when I look at my bit.ly stats versus my Google Analytics stats, they don't always measure up accurately with one another. Why, I am not certain, but I always think that the actual number falls somewhere in between.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Skinny on Social Bookmarking Sites


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Let me start this post with a disclaimer!

I am a frequent user of social bookmarking, site sharing and news aggregation sites. I do not consider myself an expert. The intent of this blog post is to share basic, useful information. If you have a favorite that I have not mentioned, I encourage you to comment. If you would like to correct me, I beg of you to do so! I too would like to learn more about how to better utilize these sites and gain a greater understanding of their nuances.

You may wonder why you need a social bookmarking site? Like others, I bookmark my pages on my computer, however, if your computer has ever crashed, you know that you can lose those bookmarks quite easily. It is also helpful to have all your bookmarks in one place so you may access them when you're away from your own computer. Finally, you may want to use a bookmarking site in order to share your links and view the links of others that you may not have found otherwise.

Reddit
Reddit launched in 2005, is a news aggregation website owned by Conde´ Naste. It is a source where users can post links to content on the Internet. The links can vary from blog entries, photos, videos, news articles, websites, etc. Other users may then vote the posted links up or down, causing them to become more or less prominent on the Reddit home page.

History
Founded by Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian in 2005, both were 22-year-old graduates of the University of Virginia. Reddit received initial funding from Y Combinator. The team expanded to include Christopher Slowe and Aaron Swartz. Aaron Swartz joined in late January 2006 as part of the company's merger with Swartz's Infogami. The combined company was then known as "not a bug." Condé Nast Publications, owner of Wired, acquired "not a bug" on October 31, 2006.

What exactly is Reddit?
The site has a discussion area where registered users can submit and discuss links. They can vote against each others' comments – voting them up or knocking them down. When your submitted link is "liked" or voted up, the person who submitted the article receives "Karma" points as a reward. When you log onto the site, there is a list of links that are displayed by popularity. There are various categories that one can select from: What's Hot, Controversial (my personal favorite), New, Top. Within those categories, there are also topics that one can select from: Pics, Politics, Worldnews, WTF, Funny, Technology, Atheism, Science, Ask Reddit, Gaming, Comics, Entertainment, Business and Videos.

How is it different?
First off, that adorable little Reddit logo changes for holidays, sometimes for no reason, it may change to pay homage to Star Wars or take forms in other ways only to be understood by "geek culture." You may visit his adventures at http://www.redditalien.com/

The other thing I noticed is that the topics are a little more casual OR a little less business focused. When I am bookmarking on other sites, if I am submitting something LIFESTYLE oriented, I have trouble finding a topic to which my submitted link relates.

How do you get your post noticed?
Write a compelling title to your post. Submit posts that others would actually like to read. And finally, in the words of the Reddit folks themselves:"Feel free to post links to your own content (within reason). If that's all you ever post, and it always seems to get voted down instantly, take a good hard look in the mirror -- you just might be a spammer."


Digg Digg my article
Digg is a social news website where people can discover and share content. Users submit content and the Digg community votes on whether or not they "Digg" the story or if they prefer to "Bury" it. Users collectively determine what is interesting and/or useful. News, Videos and Images can be submitted. Once a submission becomes popular, it jumps to the homepage – where it becomes even more popular.

History
Digg was launched in 2004 by Kevin Rose, Owen Byrne, Ron Gorodetzky, and Jay Adelson as an experiment that grew into something much larger. A second version of the Digg site, loaded with more tools for users, launched in 2005 and it included an option for users to add "friends".

What exactly is Digg?
As a user, you assist in the democratic process of determining which articles, videos and photos are worthy enough to potentially reach the home page of the site. The more "Diggs" a submitted link receives, the higher the ranking of the link. Digg also allows users to "friend" one another, the more active you are, the more friends you have on the site, the more potential Diggs you may receive.

How is it different?
Digg has grown so significantly that some submissions that are "Dugg" can create sudden traffic to a site. According to Compete.com, Digg attracted 238 Million users in 2008.

Digg varies from other sites in that it now allows a Facebook Connect option. This allows Facebook users to connect to Digg without registering and it also allows them to share their articles on both platforms. In my opinion, this will also help Digg with greater user-ship as many Facebook users are quite mainstream in terms of the web and do not have any understanding of social news websites.

Digg has many tools available to registered users. Once a link is submitted, if it is clicked, the article, or submission, opens in a new window with a dedicated Digg URL. This is helpful for re-posting. If you post the assigned Digg URL link elsewhere, other Digg users can click on the Digg URL of your link and directly Digg it from new, framed web page that opens in their browser. It potentially increases your chances of your link getting "Dugg".

How do you get your post noticed?
Make friends. Digg other submissions. Leave comments on submissions. This will help you build a history and make you more noticeable to the Digg community.

StumbleUpon
This is my favorite bookmarking site, the platform I use the most and the platform that has driven the most traffic to my particular links. I have the StumbleUpon toolbar installed on my computer which makes it very easy for me to "Stumble" a link. With the toolbar on my desktop, if I come across an article, picture, video or site that I like and want to share, I click on the THUMBS UP or "Like It" button on my toolbar and the page is saved for me instantly on my SU homepage.

History
StumbleUpon was founded in December 2001 by Garrett Camp, Geoff Smith, Justin LaFrance, and Eric Boyd during Garrett's time in post-graduate school in Calgary, Canada. The idea of creating a company was established before the content: of the five or six ideas for products, StumbleUpon was chosen. StumbleUpon was purchased by eBay in 2007, when it was acquired for $75,000,000. In April 2009, two of the founders, backed by investors, bought it back.

What exactly is StumbleUpon?
StumbleUpon is a community of users, a personalized recommendation engine. Users can also "stumble" or find new articles by clicking the "stumble" button and automatically be redirected to a page submitted by a different user in the community. The recommended page is selected by StumbleUpon by its ranking and by the personal topics chosen by the user when registering. StumbleUpon can easily resemble "Channel Surfing", each time you click the button a new site is recommended.

How is it different?
I have found that StumbleUpon is the easiest tool to find sites for the topics I am subscribed to. Users have the option to select from 500 topic choices. StumbleUpon differs because they are considered an alternative to search in many ways. They filter through the information available on the web and deliver high quality websites that are relevant to the particular user (most of the time, I've had some stupid sites recommended to me too). They also differ because they allow registered users to create a customizable home page which can include detailed information about the user that is visible to others. One thing I really like about my StumbleUpon tool bar is that I can immediately "send" a link to all my SU friends by hitting one button on the tool bar - super convenient. Another unique thing about StumbleUpon is that they have an Adult filter where you can submit and allow to view adult content.

How do you get your post noticed?
Making like-minded friends on StumbleUpon will help you get your posts noticed. Create a customized home page and include as much relevant information as possible. If you plan to use StumbleUpon to share your posts, you may NOT want to allow Adult content. I believe if you DO allow adult content you are excluded from sending to others who do not wish to view adult content. Just double check this one, since I cannot be 100% sure and their FAQs were down when I tried to check.

delicious
Delicious (formerly del.icio.us, pronounced "delicious”) is a social bookmarking service that allows users to tag, save, manage and share web pages from a centralized source. With emphasis on the power of the community, Delicious has the ability to improve how people discover, remember and share on the Internet.

History
The site was founded by Joshua Schachter in 2003 and acquired by Yahoo! in 2005. Delicious has more than five million users and 150 million bookmarked URLs. The precursor to Delicious was Muxway, a link blog that had grown out of a text file that Schachter maintained to keep track of links related to Memepoo. In September 2003, Schachter released the first version of Delicious. In March 2005, he left his day job to work on Delicious full-time, and in April 2005 it received approximately $2 million in funding from investors including Union Square Ventures and Amazon.com. Yahoo! acquired Delicious on December 9, 2005. It is speculated that it was sold for somewhere between $15 million and $30 million.

What exactly is delicious?
(I mean besides pizza) Basically, it is a bookmarking site where you can share your bookmarks and in return check out other bookmarks. As you explore the site and find interesting users, you can use our Subscriptions and Network features to keep track of the Delicious tags and users you find most interesting.

Popular tags will indicate what is “hot” with Delicious users. Browse bookmarks on just about anything from the best programming tips to the most popular travel sites, all in a fairly easy to read format.

How is it different?
Delicious uses a non-hierarchical classification system in which users can tag each of their bookmarks with freely chosen index terms. When a URL is submitted, the registered user must submit TAGS that are descriptive of the article or post. Users then search tags and find links to the items that match their chosen tags. I personally think it is the easiest format to sift through. Very clear and easy to utilize without a lot of useless graphics or advertisements to clutter the page.

How do you get your post noticed?
Tag your posts correctly and appropriately. If you choose popular tags that have nothing to do with your post, your posts will likely be seen as a waste of time and not progress to the Popular Links page. Making friends on Delicious will help too, click the icon and be my friend. And, like all of the mentioned sites, spending time on the site and becoming an interactive contributor.


Closing Arguments
My rule of thumb when it comes to Social Media, the web, Web 2.0 (whatever you want to call it) is find one or two platforms that you like, you enjoy spending time on, and spend some time there. Although I do have subscriptions to all of these sites, my bookmarking time is spent as follows: 75% of my time with StumbleUpon, 10% with Digg, 10% with Delicious and 5% with Reddit. As I mention above, Digg has the greatest number of users, however, if you are seeing from your analytics that you are showing greater progress, more hits, with Delicious, by all means spend more time with that site. Do what is right for you and your sites.

Per the request of the commenter below, here are my usernames and/or handles:
http://www.reddit.com/user/leyarsan
http://digg.com/users/leyarsan
http://leyarsan.stumbleupon.com
http://delicious.com/luluinatutu

Sources
Wikipedia
Reddit
Digg
Stumble Upon
Delicious