Separate Social Media or Do You Live Your Brand?

Specialist insurer Hiscox reports that only 13% of small business owners have no separation between their work and personal social media accounts and only 8% of respondents said they didn’t have a good balance between life and work. The other 92% are lying to themselves.

How many times have you sent a Tweet during dinner? Checked Facebook when the kids were waiting for the story you promised or blew off Sunday brunch to get one more article written and posted? Social media addiction is a problem for everyone, but for the small business owner, it’s even harder to cut the strings. Only 5% of the SMB owners said they didn’t work weekends and an even lower percent banned cell phones from the bedroom or dinner table.

Daily Deals on Dry Wall? HousingZone and Bizy Make it So

HousingZone, an online portal for builders, contractors and remodelers, is getting into the deal business with the help of

Bizy is Groupon for small business with daily discounts on items such as job ads on LinkedIn, social media marketing services and a virtual receptionist. In October, they’ll be launching their first industry specific B2B deal site at

The new deal site will include discounts on building materials such as roofing supplies, plumping, lighting and doors. (Can’t have a building without doors!)

Tony Mancini, Group Director-Principal for HousingZone parent SGC Horizon said in a press release,

“The timing of HousingZone Deals couldn’t be better, as residential construction and remodeling have been hard hit by the recession. Powered by Bizy, HousingZone Deals will help builders and remodelers improve their bottom lines with heavily discounted goods and services while providing manufacturers with a powerful new channel to promote their products to a large and very targeted audience.”

Klout Adds Five New Social Networks

In order to measure how really powerful you are in the social media realm, Klout has added five new networks. The original networks are Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Foursquare and YouTube. Now, you can link up to your accounts on Blogger, Tumblr, Flickr, Instagram and

Blogger and Tumblr represent two ends of the blogging spectrum. Blogger is the classic free host which is still widely used. Tumblr is the choice of a new generation of bloggers who prefer quicker, more visual posts. Obviously absent are WordPress and LiveJournal.

If you’re a photo fiend, Flickr is king, so I get that, but Instagram? This hot new mobile appĀ  uses a variety of filters to create works of art out of those lunch and puppy photos that people like to share on Twitter. Is this really a service that figures into a person’s online influence?

Something Old, Something New: Google Catalogs for iPad

When I was a kid, flipping through the newly delivered Sears Christmas Catalog was one of my biggest joys in life. My sister and I would work our way through from beginning to the toys, playing “pick” on every page. (We did allow ourselves to skip the men’s clothing section and the tools.) When we were done, we’d each sit down with pencil and paper and make a wish list with page numbers and color options.

Fast forward to now where Google is breathing new life into the old catalog, via their new Google Catalogs app for iPad.

It begins by choosing the catalogs you want to receive. LL Bean, Williams Sonoma, Urban Outfitters. . . the catalogs update automatically just like when you used to get them in the mail.

Yahoo, Facebook Team Up to Prove it’s a Small World After All

If you’ve ever played the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon game, then you already understand the mission of Yahoo’s new initiative, “The Small World Experiment.”

By teaming up with Facebook, Yahoo is attempting to prove that there is always less than six people between any two random people in the world.

Here’s how it works. Go to Yahoo Research and click to become a Sender. You’ll have to agree to some legalese, then you’ll be matched up with a stranger. I was given a man with a tech background from Tel Aviv who now lives in France. Next, you choose one person from your Facebook friends whom you think is most likely to know or get you closer to this person. I went with the most globally-oriented person on my list since I know I have to cross an ocean to make this connection.

Small Gains for Small Business

Small business owners aren’t optimistic about the future and they said so loud and clear this past July. The National Federation of Independent Business reports a larger than usual decline in their Optimism Index after what was already a downward spiral going back three months prior.

Given the state of the economy, their dim view isn’t surprising but comScore has some good news to share. Over the last three quarters, small retailers have taken home a larger piece of the e-commerce pie.

Not a staggering gain, but at this point, any gain is good news and this is the first good news since they had a 37.2% share back in Q4 2009.

Home is Where the QR Code Is

QR codes are popping up on everything from magazine ads to bus shelters and slowly but surely, Americans are learning to point and click.

comScore has just posted the results of their June 2011 survey regarding the funky, black and white squares and here’s what they found.

14 million mobile users in the US have scanned a QR code. That sound like a nice number until you put it in perspective. It represents only 6.2% of all mobile users.

60.5% of the code scanners were men, mostly between 18-34 with an income of over $100k.

Where did they find these codes? Nearly half said a print magazine or newspaper. A close second with 35.3% was product packaging. Posters, business cards, flyers and storefronts also made the list. The two strange choices were websites (27.4%) and TV (11.7%).