Where Have All the Millennials Gone? The Year In Social Media

Snapchat took them, every one.

If CNet is to be believed, we are going to be living with Snapchat for a long, long time. The image messaging app and social media platform continued to dominate one very important market in 2016. Snapchat, which filed for its IPO in 2016 and turns 5 in next year, is still the go-to hub for the all-important millennials.

Snapchat (now “Snap”) claims 200 million active users — 60 percent of whom are under 25 — watching 10 BILLION videos every day.

So what is driving Snap’s popularity? Is it its mobile-first attitude? Yes, there’s that. Plus, for years we were taught that what gets posted online stays online forever. And then comes along Snapchat’s message-destruct feature, giving folks a platform where they can post first and think later.

If you’re a company looking to target millennials in 2017, it looks like Snapchat is still the way to go. But let’s not discount Facebook, especially if you’re aiming for a more, ahem, seasoned demographic. Pew tells us that Facebook is still the most popular social media platform.

Facebook’s number of users continued to grow in 2016 to the point where 79 percent of American adults who use the Internet use Facebook. That’s an increase of 7 percent over 2015, something Pew attributes to the fact that more older adults have joined that community.

Twitter was in the news a lot in 2016, mainly for its use in the Presidential campaign. And yet, it’s only fifth in popularity, trailing far behind Instagram, the second-most popular platform. Once an online hub for the before-it-was-cool-Williamsburg-hipster-vegan, Facebook-owned Instagram is now used by 32 percent of online adults.

Instagram was followed closely by Pinterest and LinkedIn, with 31 percent and 29 percent, respectively.

Compare that to Twitter, used by only 24 percent of online adults.

One of the bigger surprises in 2016 was that while Vine withered and died, Google+ still clung to life. Although not mentioned in the Pew article, good ol’ G+ still has 2.2 billion users, thanks in part (I’m guessing) to the integration with the wildly popular Gmail.

Yet, it’s important to note that only 9 percent of G+ users actually bother to publicly post content. And so Google+ continues to orbit the social media sphere like an abandoned space station. You can still see G+ in the night sky, only no one’s onboard.

So what’s going to big in 2017? Video sharing may be a bigger driving force, based in part on the fact that Snap entered the oft-derided wearable arena with Spectacles. Augmented reality may continue to be big, considering Pokemon Go’s continued popularity.

One thing that won’t likely change in 2017 — the challenges many local, small businesses and nonprofits face in trying to navigate the ever-changing social media landscape. Lucky for you, companies like BEC will be there in 2017, too.

Tech Thursday: Short and Sassy

How do you be clever in the short form? We discuss.

Kassie is a distance runner and a distance reader really. She lives in Ellsworth Maine and, while she might be quiet when you meet her, will throw out something witty when you least expect it.

Chef: The Best Movie About Social Networking I’ve Seen

I’m one of those people who enjoys learning more about my topic when I am off the job. I read social media books and magazines… and have even tried to watch “Helvetica” (a movie about the font).

I just couldn’t do “Helvetica”… it was too cerebral for me. There are enough things in my life that make me feel dumb that I didn’t make myself watch this movie.

When I agreed to watch “Chef” on Saturday night with my friend Megan and her daughter, I thought I was watching a movie about a five star chef who ends up with a food truck. I wasn’t expecting so much of it to be about social networking. Here’s what I liked about it.

Chef Takeaway 1: It didn’t treat Twitter like Facebook’s ugly stepsister.

In this movie, Twitter plays a main role, some critics say it’s a ridiculously large role but I appreciated that this movie showed how Twitter works and why it’s powerful/cool. Bonus points for seeing the tweets being typed in and then having them turn into a bird an ‘tweet’ off into the world as they were sent.


Chef Takeaway 2: It touched on a bunch of social networks. 

Sometimes movies about blogging (I’m looking at you ‘Julie and Julia’) make the main character blogger sit at their computer for hours on end, tortured by the writing process.

Here’s the thing. Some of us are writers (I say us because I am literally typing this with a big smile on my face) and some are not. In this movie, we’re not only introduced to short form writing (tweets) but also other media like Youtube and Vine.

The range of what could be possible is enough to give the movie watcher a sense of what is possible but doesn’t go into the ‘how’ enough to overwhelm people.

Chef Takeaway 3: Your kid can do your social networking…kind of.

There’s always some extremely rude person who tells me after a presentation that their kid can do what I do. (Kind of insulting since I don’t walk up to THEM and tell them a kid could do their job but that’s besides the point.)

Here’s the thing about this movie: the kid is PASSIONATE about the business. That’s why he does a good job marketing it. It’s not that he’s young and up with technology (though that helps). I’m of the mindset that if you are open to learning and passionate about what you do, your business will do well on social media with you at the helm… though if you either a) don’t want to take care of it or b) need a little technical or other assistance, that’s what people like us are for.

So if you want to watch a movie that will make you want to tweet or eat a grilled cheese (I am still thinking about the grilled cheese in that movie), I recommend ‘Chef’. You won’t think hard necessarily or feel like you are in a social media marketing workshop but it’ll get you thinking… which, let’s face it, is pretty powerful.

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

Pick a Card, Any Card: The 8 Twitter Cards and Your Website


Last year, Twitter introduced a new feature called Twitter Cards. They’ve really started to push the Cards this summer, around the time that I was getting introduced to Twitter generally (and no, I do not in fact, live under a rock). It seemed worthwhile to investigate, and determine if Twitter Cards are actually beneficial or just another pushy social media experiment.

What is a Twitter Card?

An example of a Gallery Card, from

An example of a Gallery Card, from

It may not appear to be anything impressive or noteworthy- look at it, it’s just a picture and some words, and it happens to be on Twitter. So what? As is the case with most internet-related content, there’s actually more than meets the eye here. A website has to have Twitter Cards set up in order for this image to happen, otherwise, any links that get shared on Twitter will show up as, well, links (more on Card setup later).

There are 8 different kinds of Twitter Cards (and you can have as many as you want):

  1. Gallery (a mini photo gallery, in a 4×4 set up- see above)
  2. Summary (shows page title, description, featured image, and Twitter handle)
  3. Photo (self-explanatory, but also shares photos from other places, like Flickr)
  4. App (Shares an app and its download link)
  5. Player (Plays audio or video right on Twitter)
  6. Product (displays a product from your site, description, cost)
  7. Lead Generation (displays item, such as ebook or newsletter, with a “sign-up” or “subscribe” button that automatically signs a person up using their Twitter account e-mail
  8. Website (displays homepage or desired landing page, site title, a featured image, and “Read More” button).

The great thing is that you don’t even have to use all of these cards (or any, for that matter). Just determine what appears to be the most beneficial for your business, and use those. Do you have an online store? Consider the product card. Are you an App developer? You probably should have the App Card. And so on.

Since Twitter Cards are relatively new, there isn’t enough big data to showcase their success (or lack thereof). Here are a list of pros and cons:

Why They’re Cool:

First, Twitter Cards give Twitter a more visual component. Sure, you could share pictures before, but if you wanted to link to a website, it wouldn’t pull up a picture to go along with the text. As we’ve mentioned before, when you can integrate appropriate visuals to enhance text, people are usually more interested in what you have to say.

Not only do the cards make Twitter a more visual platform, they also work for your website. For example, the Summary card gives viewers a rundown of what your website is all about, which may be more enticing than a bare link. An image, brief description, and title are more appealing (and have more value) to the human psyche than a string of letters and maybe some symbols. Additionally, having a Player Card for your audio and visual content could get more people watching your video. I’ll admit, I’m a bit lazy, and the more things I have to click through to watch a minute long video, the less likely I am to commit. The Player Card lets you watch it right on Twitter. The Lead Generation Card also makes life convenient for your followers: This newsletter looks interesting, but it’s probably a pain to subscribe…Oh wait, I just had to click the button? Boom!

Finally, Twitter Cards have their own set of analytics that you can follow. We LOVE analytics! You can see how many people are clicking on your tweet, how many are getting to your website, and which cards are generating the most engagement. If posts with Player Cards are getting a large response, but Gallery Cards are getting ignored, you can figure out where to focus your energy (and maybe just nix the Gallery Cards altogether).

A sample of the analytics you can get from the cards.

A sample of the analytics you can get from the cards.

Why They’re Annoying:

It seems like this is Twitter’s way of getting in on the visual game, moving towards Facebook or Google+’s image sharing capabilities. As someone with a younger brother, I’m overly sensitive to the whole “copycat” business. Be yourself, Twitter!

The message that “this is good for you and your business!” may be true, but don’t be fooled- Twitter Cards are just as much for Twitter as they are for you. They’re looking for ways to boost numbers of users and engagement for their own purposes, and they’re hoping the Card option will achieve just that.

You have to jump through some hoops to set it up, and is it really worth it? Ok, in the grand scheme of the universe, 15 minutes or less isn’t really that much of a commitment. But seeing the meta tags that one has to add on a website seems a bit daunting, even for someone who is somewhat familiar with code. The good news is that sites running on Wordpress have a few plug-ins that can do the heavy-lifting. Otherwise, you have to do it manually.

Sample code for setting up Photo Cards. Eek?

Sample code for setting up Photo Cards. Eek?

The best way to determine if Twitter Cards are worth your while is to try it out for a bit. Most of the “annoying” occurs during the set-up process, but you may end up reaping some serious benefits. Check out your own analytics, and if you see an uptick in engagement or traffic to your website, it’s probably worth it.

Kassie is a distance runner and a distance reader really. She lives in Ellsworth Maine and, while she might be quiet when you meet her, will throw out something witty when you least expect it.

What I Learned At Wordcamp This Summer: Nicole’s Takeaways

2014-boston-wordcamp-logoThere is always something to know… and even though I’ve been working in Wordpress since 2008, I am always blown away not only with the new technology coming out but new ways of using features that I’m already familiar with.

Wordcamp Boston took place at one of MIT’s state of the art buildings and there were about 300 of us on hand to drink coffee and learn what we could from each other. The fact they had 8 sessions (!) in one day I was a little worried about but 45 minutes each was somehow manageable and fun.

We not only attended the after party but also the after-after party where we got to hang out with cool ‘celebrities’ like Sam Hotchkiss, creator of BruteProtect and a rep from Sucuri, a service we’ve used and loved. (A rep from GoDaddy was there too, apparently his sister makes GREAT fondant, and he took the elephant shooting jokes we made about a former GoDaddy exec  in stride!)

Here’s what we learned:

Accessibility is key.
It was fun to meet Jordan Quintal who has a firm that specializes in accessible sites for the disabled. As one of the 1 billion people worldwide who has a disability, Jordan talked about features I just thought were pretty, like mouseover color changes, and how you can test your site’s accessibility level. Bonus is these tools give specific improvements you can make on your own website. You can see his presentation (from a previous conference) here: Jordan’s Presentation about Accessibility (Video)

Us as mad scientists at Wordcamp.Live tweeting is still awesome.
Because of Twitter, not only did we get some of the talking points and ideas of other talks going on at the same time (I literally can’t be in two places at the same time after all!) but it also connected us with some cool people, including Myrna, head of Good Egg Marketing who we hope to collaborate with on some future projects.

Seeing Matt Baya should happen more than once a year.
The fact that the picture with this blog post is the only picture of Kassie and I at this conference is a little sad. And super sad we didn’t get one with Matt. But as usual he blew our minds, this time introducing us to Yik Yack.

My favorite talk of the whole conference was David Hickox’s talk about Designing for Content. Really great overview and actually got me excited about sexy topics like line spacing and h5 tags!

Overall, great job Wordcamp organizers on a smooth conference with a nice range of presenters. Let’s do it again next year!

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

A Complete Guide To Short Tracking Links: The Where, Why, and How

You may have noticed weird looking links in your online life,  like in your Facebook or Twitter feed. And you may also notice them in places like magazines.

Here’s an example (I blurred part of the page name because it’s a naughty word):


These,, and other links are basically short links. People use these services to make shorter links… and to track those links.

First, let’s talk about the short part.

The actual link above, unshortened, would be:

As you see, that’s way longer. That link would barely fit in a tweet by itself, let alone leaving room for any kind of commentary. Because Twitter has a 140 character limit.

But you may ask yourself, “Facebook has no limits. Why do I care about using short links on Facebook?”

This is where the tracking part comes in:


We see that this link was first shortened in 2013, so this isn’t new news. The 6,566 clicks in the last hour is likely from this one Facebook share.

Now the ‘I ******* love science’ Facebook page isn’t owned (at least that anyone knows of) by National Geographic (the place where the flying squid article was posted). So the only way the can know if people are clicking on something they are sharing on a website that doesn’t belong to them is to use a  short/tracking link.

If you are sharing a link to your own website, you can see the data (who clicks and beyond). But these short/tracking links are specifically for:

1) When you need something short (like you have a magazine article and want to send people to the online video corresponding to it). The less someone has to type, the less likely they are to mistype!
2) When you need to track something you can’t normally (a click to a Twitter profile from Facebook, a link to another website, etc.)

So let’s look at this flying squid post in more detail:

76,702 people clicked on the link (from
35,986 people liked it (from Facebook post)
8,819 people shared it (from Facebook post)1,719 left a comment (from Facebook post)

A majority of your fans/friends will never say a word about what you post. As you see, most people don’t. The lowest commitment thing you can do when someone shares a link is click on it. The next level of interest is liking it, etc. The highest level of interest is someone saying something about it… and as you see most people never get there. Of the 76,000+, less than 2,000 people actually said something about it.

So thinking the only people interacting with you are your commenters is a mistake. Many people will tell you what they like (and don’t) silently with a click (or a lack of click).

The I ***** love science Facebook page is smart: they are actively tracking what people do and don’t like and refining what they share accordingly.

And now that you know that you can make tracking links using services like bitly (free), you can do the same!

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.
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