Sep 24, 2009

Social Media, More Specifically

A few weeks ago, I posted some thoughts about social media. We're all told social media is popular, useful, and important, but how do we actually use it??

Each morning, and multiple times a day when I'm not checking email or managing our website, I check my Twitter and Google Reader. These are essential tools in participating in the social media conversation happening all over the world, plus they make it easy for me to connect with topics and people that are related to what I do at Kar-Ben.

Google Reader is a lifesaver and time saver. Ever wonder how avid blog-readers keep track of all their favorite blogs? They subscribe to the blogs' RSS feeds, meaning they are notified whenever the blog is updated.

Here's a brilliant video about RSS feeds and what they do:

Google Reader is a tool to create your own "digest" of blogs. Go to and start your free account. Then add subscriptions to your favorite blogs. For example, if you'd like to be automatically notified every time we update the Kar-Ben blog, click the pull-down menu at the top right corner under "Subscribe To." Or copy and paste this URL to your Google Reader: That's a link to our RSS feed. Now you can easily bookmark your favorite blogs and be notified of when they're updated. (If you're feeling confident with your Google Reader skills, consider reading this post from Chris Brogan, who is a pro at social media communications.)

Check out the links over there in the right column for blogs we like, including the Lerner Books Blog. Here's an informative post for social media users (aimed at authors but useful for people outside of the industry.)

I'm least familiar with Twitter, but I'm slowly learning how useful it can be. Users tweet short messages, updates, and links. You might think it's a waste of time, but using only 140 characters per tweet forces users to get to the point pretty fast. Links are easy to pass on from one user to another. By glimpsing at what users are talking about, I can quickly connect with organizations and people related to my main interests, including books (specifically children's), education, and Jewish organizations and people. If you're looking to see if Twitter is right for you, check out their search page. Enter in the last book you read, the city you live in, or keywords relating to a question or subject you're curious about. If you find yourself clicking user's profiles and wanting to see more of what they have to say, I'd tell you to start your own account. Especially since tomorrow is Follow Friday, a day when users traditionally recommend other users to follow. Twitter's own, "if you follow me, you might enjoy following these other users."

But you don't have to take my word for it. Also check out Jewish Publication Society's The Jewish Non-Profit Guide to Social Media Marketing and the Book of Life's Why Be Social podcast.


  1. Hey Jess,

    I have to say that I'm really impressed with all that you are doing. It's good to know that I'm not a lone soldier for the use of Social Media in Jewish Book Publishing! You're really moving Kar-Ben forward and it shows! We'll have to sit down one day (if we're ever in the same city) and share best practices!

    -Alx Block

  2. Thanks Alx! You're doing a great job! And proving that even a 120-year-old nonprofit company can use social media! I added a link to your post about Social Media Marketing for Jewish Nonprofits.