How to Win Friends and Influence People in the 21st Century - Take Two

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By Hector E. Cisneros

Photo Credit:
The last 50 years have seen sweeping changes in our society. We have gone from people having a face-to-face relationship to a society that prefers social networking. We have cyberfriends we have never met in person. Younger people today would rather text you than actually speak to you n real-time..  Facebook is now running commercials showing that people would rather be on their Facebook phones, reading their news feed, than interacting with their families at the dinner table. The fact is, we live in a cyber-enabled world. So, if you want to build strong relationships and get ahead, you need to learn how to make friends and influence people in the 21st century.

How to Win Friends and Infkuence People in the...
How to Win Friends and Infkuence People in the Digital Age (Photo credit: ShashiBellamkonda)
A couple of years ago I wrote an article called “How to win Friends and Influence People in the 21st Century." In that article I emphasized the law of reciprocity. The law that states what goes around comes around.  That means if you help others, they will in turn help you back. I clearly stated in that article that this was my magic formula for growing my business, my reputation and for building trust amongst my customers. I also stated that I was providing others with testimonial letters, as well as referrals and recommendations long before the advent of social networks. Word of mouth marketing is built on your reputation. It depends on building trust and credibility. More importantly, it relies on the cultivation of trusted referral partners and loyal customers to sing your praises and to spread your message to others.

Electronic Word of Mouth

Word of Mouth
Word of Mouth (Photo credit: Intersection Consulting)
Social networking is an electronic form of word of mouth marketing. It allows your referral partners and happy customers to sing your praises to a world audience, an audience that can spread that positive (or negative) message quickly and to a very large number of people, far beyond your customer base.
In my previous article I also mentioned that my social networks have built-in functions to pass along recommendations and testimonials. LinkedIn, Ecademy and FourSquare were the examples I gave. Since that writing LinkedIn has added an additional endorsement function where you can just click on a person’s skill to recommend them. However, I still prefer that you write a genuine testimonial letter and upload it.  This will carry more weight than just clicking on someone's skill set as an endorsement. 

More Equals More

As a general rule, the more work you do to help someone, the greater the value and weight your efforts carry, (i.e., the better the referral, testimonial or recommendation).  Don’t limit your recommendations to just one social network. Post your recommendations on as many networks as possible. I often post my recommendations on the top five social networks. This includes Facebook, YouTube, Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn. But don’t stop there.  Posting to other networks like Merchant Circle, AngliesList, Google Local and YollowBook also helps. I also like making recommendations on blogs and websites, if it has the facility to allow you to rate them there.

YouTube, the King of Testimonials

YouTube video Brandweer Nederweert
YouTube video Brandweer Nederweert (Photo credit: mauritsonline)
A quick note about YouTube; many people don’t think of YouTube as a social network, however it has all the features of a true social network. You subscribe to it. You can follow other accounts, build a following, make and receive recommendations and leave comments on a person’s posts. More importantly you can create a video testimonial for the person you’re trying to help. In today’s world, nothing is better than a video testimonial from a happy customer. Commercials are full of actors faking their endorsement.  But a customer’s eyes rarely lie. Today, videos are the king of testimonials. More people would rather watch a short video that read anything. This is especially true of your testimonials. Unscripted, spoken from the heart words of praise are priceless marketing weapons without equal. Do everything in your power to help your customers provide this valuable service for you and your company. This can include providing incentive for the completion of a recommendation etc.… However, the law of reciprocity only works if the testimonial that is given is genuine. You must earn their recommendation by providing them with good service or a valued product.

Pictures, Videos are Worth a Whole lot More!

English: Think you already knew the old saying...
English: Think you already knew the old saying: "A picture is worth a thousand words?" Think again. Let's ask Andy and see what he says... What's your explanation? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Many social networks allow you to upload pictures and or videos. Note that written testimonials, referrals and recommendations can be saved as PDF and JPG files, essentially turning them into pictures and downloadable documents. This is another way you can upload testimonials to social networks like Twitter, Google + and Facebook. Don’t forget to upload your video testimonial to these channels also. This includes other rating sites like Google Maps and Google local. As a matter of fact many “Local Directories” provide a place for you to upload pictures and videos. Use these to your advantage.  I would be willing to bet if you do, you will be one of the few that use this strategy and it will give you a big advantage.

What Smart Companies Do

Smart companies today are using social networks as a new kind of help desk and or customer service venue. They can watch for customer posted complaints, then connect with these disgruntled customers, and head off problems before they become big PR issues.

Get Your Tools Ready

Hootsuite's bar
Hootsuite's bar (Photo credit: ksablan)
Today there are also lots of tools that make it easier to post your recommendations and testimonials. These tools provide leverage so that you can post to multiple networks simultaneously. You can even schedule post asking people to read your testimonials’ and recommendations. There is no rule that says you can’t post this type of request more than once. Just don’t do it too often or you risk alienating your following. My favorite tool is Hootsuite and it is free at

Take a Double  Check

Check Chk
Check Chk (Photo credit: Matt Carman)
Make sure that you don’t spoil your efforts by providing poorly written testimonials or recommendations. Your spelling and grammar must be perfect.  Double check the spelling of the company or the business name. Nothing can spoil a great testimonial, referral or review like spelling and grammar errors, (especially if you get the name wrong)! 

What to Avoid

So far I have told you a lot of things you should do, but I haven’t spent much time telling you what you need to avoid. Make sure you maintain a positive attitude. Being positive draws people to you. This is transferred into your writing and show up in your post. Avoid negative expressions and conversations. They do not help you in your quest to grow your business. Also avoid cursing, crass and salacious language. This kind of language never makes you look professional.  Don’t get into arguments with people on social networks. These networks are public and you don’t want to air squabbles and dirty laundry in public.
Avoid Area, Central London, 25 October 2009
Avoid Area, Central London, 25 October 2009 (Photo credit: ed_needs_a_bicycle)

Other things I would avoid is trying to use tricks or techniques like mirroring and matching or NLP.  These can be useful when face to face but they really lose something when translated into writing. Plus if a person figures you are trying to manipulate them your relationship is all but lost. It's important to be yourself. Especially your better self. Leave your ego at the door when trying to help others. 

The Experiment

I have spent the last 20 years of my business life following the Law of Reciprocity and it has served me well. I have received dozens of recommendations and have a clean online reputation. I work hard at keeping my reputation clean, not by tricks or by trying to burying bad news by launching a massive PR campaign that pushes that news off page one.  Instead what I concentrate on  is helping others first, then making things right if I make a mistake. I do this because I believe it’s the right thing to do. 

I will write a positive testimonial for your p...
I will write a positive testimonial for your product or service for $5 (Photo credit: birgerking)
If you don’t believe me, try this experiment. Pick a number of referral partners, (I chose 30 when I did this experiment) and write testimonials for them. Post them to the top five social networks, (or whichever ones you’re on) and then let them know that you provided this service for them. Ask them if they could reciprocate by doing the same for you. You will find that your reciprocity rate will be between 30 and 50% most of the time. If you do this experiment three or four times you will have helped a lot of people and in turn helped yourself by gathering a handsome number of recommendations to boot. Keep in mind that this will only work if you have built trust and credibility with others. If they don’t know, like and trust you, asking them for a recommendation is not going fly either.

The Last Word

Famous last words...
Famous last words... (Photo credit: deadmind)
A few last words to remember. Today, your reputation (individual and business) extends far beyond the boundaries of your business. Anyone can research your reputation and they believe what they read and view. Social media has become the great equalizer. It some cases, it has also become the spoiler. This is especially true if a competitor is trying to soil your reputation. The viral power of social networks allows a reputation to be passed around the world quickly (good or bad). It behoves you to make disgruntled customers satisfied. Making things right is the best way to turn a bad situation into a positive recommendation.

In this article I have covered the law of reciprocity and how it allows you to win friends and influence people in the 21st century. I have discussed how you can use this principle on a variety of social media including the top five social networks and others like Angieslist, Merchant Circle and Google Local. I have included suggestions on how to leverage your time and given insight to using YouTube as a social network and testimonial tool. If you have enjoyed this article pass it on to your friends. If you have other ideas, thoughts or comments on this subject share them with our readers in the comment section. 

Email Marketing You Can Trust

Hector Cisneros is COO and director of Social Media Marketing at Working the Web to Win, an award-winning Internet marketing company based in Jacksonville, Florida.  He is also co-host of the weekly Internet radio show, "Working the Web To Win" on, which airs every Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern. Hector is a syndicated writer and published author of “60 Seconds to Success.”

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The Ever-Changing Faces of Facebook

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Evolution of the number of Facebook users. Dat...
Evolution of the number of Facebook users.
Data comes from Facebook's press room:
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
By Hector Cisneros

More than a billion subscribers use Facebook. It is the most widely used social network in the world. Facebook tells us that they are working hard to improve the user experience. They also say that they are working to provide a business friendly advertising medium. Facebook founder makes new promises every year about upgrades and added features. In fact, they add new features so often that it makes me wonder why they feel they need this constant tweaking. They are currently twice as big as their nearest competitor.

Well here are a few questions I want to ask Facebook subscribers. Do you find yourself looking for that one feature you knew was there, but now it seems like it has vanished? Do the constant changes and add-ons frustrate you?  Does Facebook’s constant tinkering tick you off? If so, then this article is for you. We will explore the many ever-changing faces of Face Book and show you where to find help and where things have been moved. This article will help you make heads or tails of the ever-changing faces of Facebook.

Since its inception in 2004, Facebook has been at the nexus of social media. Its meteoric rise from unknown social network to the industry-leading juggernaut in 2013 has been awe-inspiring. Today Facebook has more than a billion subscribers, along with hoards of Fans and a number of detractors who say Facebook is slipping. Every year Facebook has made functional and cosmetic changes to its social network. Some of these changes have been met with applause and others with disdain.

Facebook logo
Facebook logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
What’s amazing to me is that Facebook and other software companies ignore a very important fact. Most people in the world don’t like change. Studies have shown that only about 25% of all software users look forward to upgrades and changes. About 50 percent don’t like change but will tolerate it if there are perceivable benefits. And then there’s the remaining 25 percent that just hate change. That means that 75 percent of all users don’t want rapid changes yet rapid changes are the norm in the software industry today. Let’s cover some of the newest changes going on at Facebook

Time Line - Fecebook - Calbos 1
Time Line - Fecebook - Calbos 1 (Photo credit: Interatividade Já)
The new Timeline allows for a bigger picture, videos and it organizes your news feed in a way that allows your tabs to display information by category. The default news feed page lists your post on the right side. The left side contains information about you, followed by sections containing your friends, photos and your likes for music, movies, TV show, books etc… Clicking on the tab for any of these items moves them to center stage for you or your friends to see.

Facebook Graph Search
Facebook Graph Search (Photo credit: Frank Hamm)
Facebook’s new Graph Search will allow you to search and find others that have similar interest to you. It will allow you to use simple phrases like “find photos taken by friends in Key  West” or “show me people who like windsurfing”. This feature is not yet available to all users. There is a waiting list you can get on to try it out, before its final released. I have added myself to the list because I believe this could be a significant tool that subscribers will love.

Facebook adds a dedicated music tab. The music tab was recently added along with tabs for movies, TV shows, Books, likes, Notes and Places. This information was available in your profile before but Facebook decided that creating tabs for each item type makes for better organization similar to the way a newspaper is organized into sections.

Facebook Chat Head function allows you to enter into a chat session regardless of what app you in on a smartphone (that has the Facebook Home App on it). Its part of the new Facebook Phone/Home app recently released. You can chat with anyone thats online in Facebook. This is not so much a new function as it is a function that is enhanced via the mobile app. It has been refined over the last year or so and has now made it to the Smartphone. If you love to chat with your friends you will love the convenience of chatting with them regardless of what you're doing on your phone. Now a chat head can sit on top of any app you are using.

Molly - Shallow
Molly - Shallow (Photo credit: Sean Molin Photography)
Facebook’s confusing Edge Rank algorithm. This algorithm determines if a subscriber sees your ad based on a myriad of criteria. For example, a post can appear in a subscriber’s timeline based on its type (photo, video or text), how long the post has been displayed, if you recently interacted with that subscriber, how popular it is (via likes and comments) and so on. It’s easy to see that it would be hard to predict how often subscriber would see your advertising. This is also borne out by reports that ad results have been poor.

The Facebook cell phone. Facebook recently teamed up with HTC to produce an Android phone with a home page Facebook app as the standard interface. Initial sales have been a little slow but I am sure that for the Facebook addicted masses, this cell phone will fit right in.

HeatMap of Facebook homepage 15sec
HeatMap of Facebook homepage 15sec
(Photo credit: K2_UX)
Facebook Home for Android. If you don’t want to buy a Facebook cell phone, you can convert your current Android Smartphone to a Facebook phone by just downloading the Homepage Facebook app. As of this week, over 500,000 Facebook Home Page apps have been downloaded from Google play.

This article is too short to provide comprehensive information for those who want lots of detail. Here is my short list of current articles that provide a good overview of Facebook’s new features. These should satisfy any avid user’s needs. 

Here are My Top Seven Articles on Facebook.

The Beginner’s Guide to Facebook
Facebook Timeline: The Complete Guide Facebook Tips for Power Users Home: Everything You Need to Know Tips to Maximize Your Brand's Facebook Reach Timeline: 10 Simple Tips and Tricks to Fill Out Facebook Timeline Without Annoying Your Friends

Facebook continues to grow despite the predictions by detractors that they are slipping. Facebook just built a new $1.5 billion data center in Iowa. This means that they are serious about being in control of their own infrastructure and quality control. There have been some recent studies that show small businesses moving their advertising from Facebook to LinkedIn, Pintrest and Twitter. Small businesses have shown their frustration with the new and confusing Edge Rank algorithm, which has produced poor results for small businesses. On the other hand Facebook has shown tremendous resiliency even in the face of its constant tinkering with its interface and functions. There is no doubt that adding features and improving function is a worthwhile endeavor. I for one vote for fewer upgrades and slower changes. Once a year is enough.

In this article, I have discussed several of the newest Facebook features and innovations. I have discussed subscriber frustration associated with constant changes implemented by Facebook. I also have mentioned the migration of many small business owners to other social networks like LinkedIn and Pintrest, caused by the confusion and poor results of Facebook’s new Edge Rank algorithm. In addition, I have provided a short list of articles worth reading if you are a Facebook aficionado in need of comprehensive detail. If you enjoyed this article pass it on to a friend, if you have a different opinion add that in the comment section of this article. I hope to share other articles with you in the near future. 

That's my opinion; I look forward towards reading yours. 

Hector Cisneros is COO and director of Social Media Marketing at Working the Web to Win, an award-winning Internet marketing company based in Jacksonville, Florida.  He is also co-host of the weekly Internet radio show, "Working the Web To Win" on, which airs every Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern. Hector is a syndicated writer and published author of “60 Seconds to Success.”

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When Will Computers Out Think You?

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By Carl Weiss

Photo Credit:
As I sit here thinking about artificial intelligence, I am reminded of all the amazing motion pictures that predict the evolution of computer to thinking and self replication machines. Some of my favorites are "Terminator," "iRobot," "War Games," and "Battle Star Galactica." In all of these movies, the computers become more powerful than the people who created them. Some have happy endings, other not so much.

Computers Have Changed the World

Face it, since the 1980s the personal computer has changed the world as we know it.  Before Apple and IBM started offering computers to the masses, the world was a much
The first developers of IBM PC computers negle...
The first developers of IBM PC computers neglected audio capabilities (first IBM model, 1981). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
different place.  We weren’t as connected.  Life ran at a slower pace. The world seemed bigger.  However, the advent of the microchip and everything that goes along with it has forever changed the ways in which we communicate, educate, shop, do business and entertain ourselves.  In fact, just about the only thing that hasn’t changed in the past 25 years has been the fact that we still control the machines that reside at the heart of every PC, tablet, smartphone, automobile, airplane and power plant.  Without us, they would just be a die cast doorstop that would be about as smart as an anvil. 

While science fiction novels and movies galore speak of the wonder and the horror of thinking machines, the fact is that there still aren’t any machines on the planet that can self-program or learn from their mistakes.  That’s the good news.  The bad news is that the day is coming sooner than you think when computers will be able to think for themselves. 

Computer Games Have Been the Springboard to AI

Computers are really good at games.  The reason is that games have rules.  Programming the rules into a computer is fairly straightforward.  Once programmed, a game-playing computer has a distinct advantage over a human because computers can perform hundreds of millions of calculations per second.  This was first brought to light in a big way when, in 1997, the IBM computer "Deep Blue" beat the world’s chess champion Gary Kasparov

Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Photo credit: James the photographer)
“'Deep Blue,' with its capability of evaluating 200 million positions per second, was the fastest computer that ever faced a world chess champion. Today, in computer chess research and matches of world class players against computers, the focus of play has often shifted to
software chess programs, rather than using dedicated chess hardware. Modern chess programs such as Rybka, Deep Fritz or Deep Junior are more efficient than the programs during Deep Blue's era. In a recent match, Deep Fritz vs. world chess champion Vladimir Kramnik in November 2006, the program ran on a personal computer containing two Intel Core 2 Duo CPUs.”

While an impressive feat, "Deep Blue" and its successors are extremely limited in what they can accomplish and how they can interact with humans.  All they do is play chess.  They not only are unable to hold a conversation about the nuances of the game, they don’t understand what the word nuance means.  However, all that changed in 2010 with the creation of the computer known as "Watson."

English: IBM's Watson computer, Yorktown Heigh...
English: IBM's Watson computer, Yorktown Heights, NY (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Designed and built by IBM, "Watson" was designed to answer questions on the TV game show Jeopardy.  Unlike Deep Blue, Watson could not only understand the sometimes arcane questions posed on the show, but it could deliver its answers verbally. Relying on an extensive database of some 200 million pages of content contained in four terabytes of RAM, Watson competed on the air against two of the most successful human Jeopardy competitors of all time, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, beating them both for a prize worth one million dollars. 

“Since Deep Blue's victory over Garry Kasparov in chess in 1997, IBM had been on the hunt for a new challenge. In 2004, IBM Research manager Charles Lickel, over dinner with coworkers, noticed that the restaurant they were in had fallen silent. He soon discovered the cause of this evening hiatus: Ken Jennings, who was then in the middle of his successful 74-game run on Jeopardy! Nearly the entire restaurant had piled toward the televisions, mid-meal, to watch the phenomenon. Intrigued by the quiz show as a possible challenge for IBM, Lickel passed the idea on, and in 2005, IBM Research executive Paul Horn backed Lickel up, pushing for someone in his department to take up the challenge of playing Jeopardy! with an IBM system.  Eventually David Ferrucci took him up on the offer.
In initial tests run during 2006, Watson was given 500 clues from past Jeopardy programs. While the best real-life competitors buzzed in half the time and responded correctly to as many as 95% of clues, Watson's first pass could get only about 15% correct. During 2007, the IBM team was given three to five years and a staff of 15 people to solve the problems. By 2008, the developers had advanced Watson such that it could compete with Jeopardy! champions.  By February 2010, Watson could beat human Jeopardy! contestants on a regular basis.”

Doctor Watson has a PhD?

More incredibly, after retiring from television, "Watson" was repurposed in 2013 to provide management decisions in lung cancer treatment at memorial sloan-Kettering Center.  IBM Watson’s business chief Manoj Saxena says that 90% of nurses in the field who use Watson 
Watson, Ken Jennings, and Brad Rutter in their...
Watson, Ken Jennings, and Brad Rutter in their Jeopardy! exhibition match. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
now follow its guidance.  IBM is also looking at the possibility of using "Watson" for legal research.

While the software that upon Watson is based is available to large corporations and research centers (such as Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute), a system that meets the minimum requirements currently costs more than one million dollars.  However, as computer chips become faster and less costly, it won’t be long before this kind of technology makes it to the masses.  When you realize that the computer power available in today’s Smartphones is superior to that used to fly the Space Shuttle, then this claim is hardly beyond the realm of possibility.

“According to IBM, "The goal is to have computers start to interact in natural human terms across a range of applications and processes, understanding the questions that humans ask and providing answers that humans can understand and justify."

Moore’s Law Still Means More!

Moore’s Law states that computer power doubles approximately every two years.  This little gem was coined by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore back in 1965, when he published a paper noting that the number of components in integrated circuits had doubled ever since their invention in 1958.  While this trend has slowed slightly over the intervening forty eight years, this exponential growth has directly influenced every aspect of the electronics industry and brought us closer to the point where computers will be able to think for themselves.
Moore's Law, The Fifth Paradigm.
Moore's Law, The Fifth Paradigm. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
“Peter Van Der Made, former IBM chief scientist, has spent over a decade studying the human brain and understanding how to replicate it in computer form. His new book, Higher Intelligence, tells the story of a 10-year breakthrough R&D project to build an 'artificial brain chip that will
help computers learn like the human brain. 

"By producing computer chips that allow computers to learn for themselves, we have unlocked the next generation of computers and artificial intelligence," Mr Van Der Made says.  “We are on the brink of a revolution now where the computers of tomorrow will be built to do more than we ever imagined.  Current computers are great tools for number crunching, statistical analysis, or surfing the Internet. But their usefulness is limited when it comes to being able to think for themselves and develop new skills," he says.
“The synthetic brain chip of tomorrow can evolve through learning, rather than being programmed.”

Peter goes onto say in his book that he and his colleagues have already been able to simulate many of the functions of the human brain and convert them into hardware that learns without the intervention of a programmer.  If he is correct, the next few years could see a paradigm shift that is more earth shattering than that of the advent of the silicon chip. Already we are seeing autonomous aerial vehicles flying the friendly skies and driverless vehicles plying the highways of Southern California.  With a few more iterations of Moore’s Law and a bit of tinkering, will we shortly be on the verge of intelligent systems, everyday robotics and machines that can outthink their makers?

If this isn’t quite the case yet, all I can say is, “Game on!”

If you like this article, you can find more by typing “robots” or "artificial intelligence" in the search box at the top left of this blog. If you found this article useful, share it with your friends, families and co-works. If you have a comment related to this article, leave it in the comment sections below.  If you would like a free copy of our book, "Internet Marketing Tips for the 21st Century," fill out the form below.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Since 1995, Carl Weiss has been helping clients succeed online.  He owns and operates several online marketing businesses, including Working the Web to Win and Jacksonville Video Production. He also co-hosts the weekly radio show, "Working the Web to Win," every Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern on

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