Demystifying Social Media. Do you speak Horn?
Decoding a Unique Social Media, Horn Honking As a Language

by  Margaret Ross

 This post originally appeared on the World of Success, Jenningswire where Visible Strategies and Margaret Ross regularly contribute articles about leveraging social media and smart digital strategies and technologies for small business.

For decades horn honking has been used as a way to communicate. Much like email, this social media message can easily be miscommunicated.

marketing social language courtesy As a language, deciphering horn honks can be challenging. When someone honks their horn, you don't really know if they are honking at you at all—and if they are -- what exactly they are trying to say. To make it more of a conundrum, a honk in your city can be different than a horn honk you might hear while visiting your aunt across the country.

Until the complete etiquette of horn honking is more formalized, I’ve prepared some horn honking basics to prepare you for your next road trip.


 A "tap" is a light application of pressure on the horn. It is really the most genial kind of horn honking (you didn't know there was such a thing, did you?) Here are two different types of horn taps and what they mean: - A tap while at a light: “I don't want to be rude, but the light has changed. Do you think you might go now?” - A tap while on the freeway: “I see your signal and will let you in this lane…if you hurry and acknowledge this courtesy with a hand wave.”


 Taps and toots are often difficult to distinguish. However, as the amusing word "toot" signifies, toots are friendly honks. You might hear a toot from your college roommate, who spots you while you are driving on the other side of the road. Perhaps you haven't seen him or her in years; perhaps you are driving the same car you were in college, and it is now held together with duct tape, while they are driving their brand new BMW, and the whole incident makes you reevaluate your whole life and how you've spent the last 20 years. Sigh. Anyway, that's what a toot can mean.

Read more Demystifying Social Media. Do you speak Horn?
Can Your Business Benefit from Facebook’s Search Feature?
What's In It For Me?
Risks and Benefits of Facebook Open Graph Search Feature

If you own a business any new feature announcements from Facebook can simultaneously evoke feelings of hopeful excitement and vague dread.  “Will this bring in new business?” VS ‘Uh oh, what have they done this time?” The new feature’s name this time is Open Graph Search. It is in beta release.

Business Page Users: A big plus is that Business Page Users might find personal information that, in the past, has been only available to paid advertisers.  A search result for “people who like to cycle” could be really valuable if you own a bicycle shop or are looking for a cycling group to join. 

Individuals can gather fast facts without needing to post a poll for all their friends. If you are planning a trip to New York or London, instead of only posting a request for friend’s restaurant recommendations, you can enter a search such as “What restaurants have my friends visited in New York?”

One of the big complaints about Facebook since its inception in 2004 was the poor search engine function, with completely irrelevant results popping up. The other big complaint is that personal privacy protection requires Facebook users to be very proactive.

Take a look at the pros and cons that this new search engine may have for business marketing and for your personal account. I suggest you watch the Facebook video regarding how to use “Open Graph Search”.

Read more Can Your Business Benefit from Facebook’s Search Feature?
Social Media Basics How To Talk Twitter-Style
Many business people tempted by the Twitter buzz immediately encounter a daunting language barrier. Do you speak Twitter? Welcome to the Twitterverse. The universe in 280 characters or less.  The most common length of a tweet back when Twitter only allowed 140 characters was 34 characters. Now that the limit is 280 characters, the most common length of a tweet is about 33 characters. 

Twitter Basic Vocabulary Definitions

The Tweeting communication code clearly starts out confusing. Every social network, from industry Social Media Twitter 101organizations to soccer parents, has its own specialized terms and acronyms. Those new to this microblogging jargon are in search of simple and clear answers to a myriad of critical questions such as “What in the world is Twitter's Follow Friday?” “Why are the pound signs cluttering peoples' messages?” “Is it a gesture of friendship or plagiarism to ReTweet (aka RT) someone’s tweet message?”   Once we begin to speak the language; we feel compelled to help the next Newbie.
Read more Social Media Basics How To Talk Twitter-Style
Avoid these LinkedIn Mistakes
Three Mistakes You Cannot Afford to Make with LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the worldwide sensation, owned by Microsoft,  that allows you to stay connected with current business contacts, make new business contacts, follow companies and see what fascinating things they're up to. LinkedIn can also be a waste of your time, a benefit to your competitors and an aggravation to your friends.

Wow, big difference.

Millions love LinkedIn. Of course, if there are fans, there's bound to be some haters. Haters are the people that just don't appreciate LinkedIn no matter what benefits it may potentially provide. Some may avoid the LinkedIn experience. You don’t have to be one of them. I’ll give you three (all too) common mistakes that I see people make on LinkedIn and tell you how you can easily avoid them.

Regularly Made ... Rookie LinkedIn Technical Errors


Mistake 1: Under-Protecting Connections

marketing social media linkedinIt is a BIG mistake is you allowing your competitors to get a look at all of your connections. (you know, those people you have worked so hard to "connect" with and yet you are pretty sure they are ready to jump ship at any moment and work with someone else instead of you?) Yes, your "first degree" connections are, by default, capable of seeing your connections. However, you can easily hide those precious connections from your clever competitors by simply changing the setting in the "who can see your connections" part of the "Profile Privacy Settings" screen.

Mistake 2: Over-Sharing Skills & Details

Raining down information about yourself to all of your LinkedIn connections is a mistake. Most people are up to their ears in information and are constantly bombarded with updates about every little thing. For example, ("Oh, great—yet another update on John and what he's up to…hmmm this is his second LinkedIn update today. At 6:30 am, he reportedly gained leadership skills and now he has learned PowerPoint. What social media does he think this is? --- Twitter?") Does everyone really need to know that you took that class in macramé, which you are sure will add to your web design abilities? Or that you now have now acquired “client service” skills? They may have thought you already had them. Avoid this by selecting “stop showing details” in your privacy settings. (See example highlighted in yellow.) Do you really want everyone to know that you are on the lookout for a new job? Or, more specifically—do you really want your boss to know that you are on the lookout for a new job? Remember to reverse this setting when the detail you are updating is something such as securing first-round funding for your start-up company or a Pulitzer Prize.

Read more Avoid these LinkedIn Mistakes