WordPress Plugin: Social Media Widget

Expanding the visibility of your WordPress site leveraging technology and social media.

Social Media. As if getting through your web presencing experience wasn’t harrowing enough.

The thing with technology is… there’s always more. More. More. More. So you probably feel even more behind and like you have further to go now, then you did before, when you only needed a uniquely-you custom designed WordPress website.

But let’s flip it. Cuz, I’m optimystical like that.

The thing with technology is… if it wants to continue to grow and expand into more, more, more… it must become easy, easy, easier or else, no body will come to the party.

Think about that for a second… technology must adapt and penetrate into more of the market, where less people have the specialized technical training like me and many others like me, already have.

No, you don’t want to learn HTML. You want to be focused on that special thing you do, and doing it. Using a web presence and social media… technology in general, to help.

You will need to learn about some of it. My bet though, is this pool will become less and less of a deep-dive and more of a slow wade across calm easy waters; as you layer in your own growth and expand you & your web presence into all you want it to be, step-by-step.

I refer to it as “eating the cookie one bite at a time.” Come on over to the optimystical side, we have cookies!

Easy Does It.

If you read many of my posts, you’ll know I favor a particular focus on ease. And easy. Following easy has expanded me & my biz in unimaginable ways. Do you feel invited yet? Good, because I want you to come follow easy with me.

Start where you are. That means if you are not yet twittering, don’t. Not yet. Don’t put the pressure on yourself to be somewhere you are not (yet). Can we make that deal, right now?

If you only have a LinkedIn profile… great and so what? Now what.

If you are somewhere between thinking about web presencing and being web presenced and continuing to expand it, you will at some point begin to think about social media. The 21st century networking gig of our technology-times.

And your first step into social media can be from right where you are. Wherever you are. Or are not. Even if you’d like to be in both the majors (Twitter and Facebook) and now the goliath that is Google has released Google+ … here we go again.

Social Media Widget: How to add social media icons
to your sidebar.

This WordPress plugin offers an all-in-one sidebar social media widget for your website.

Equipped with more than 40 social media networks, you decide which ones you are already a part of and as you expand into new markets, simply return to the widget to add your new social media profile URL in the appropriate field and presto… a new social media icon appears in your sidebar next to the rest of ‘em.

Social Media Widget offers 4 different icon sets to choose from in 3 standard icon sizes: 64×64, 32×32 (most common) and 16×16.

Get It
It’s a plugin. You can get it two ways. The easy way – searching the plugin directory from your WordPress admin dashboard or the good-ole-fashioned way – visit WordPress Plugins directory and download it.

Lucky for you, I have a 5-minute video in this post  where you can watch me go through the steps of using a WordPress admin dashboard to search for and install a different plugin, however, you’ll use the same steps to search and install the Social Media Widget.

Use It
After installing and activating the plugin, from Appearance > Widgets, simply drag the widget into your sidebar or any widgetized area. Configure the widget by choosing a title, select your preferred icon size, your alignment (center, left, right) preferences and then add the URLs to your various social media networks you are a part of like Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, YouTube, Flickr, Delicious, StumbleUpon, Digg and Myspace. If you are using Feedburner, there is also a place to add your RSS feed and email subscription link.

adding a new social network to your Social Media Widget plugin

Obviously I keep the number icons I display to a minimum. More means more effort on the part of your web visitor to decide what to do next, so keep it simple. My social media sidebar icons looks like this:

the social media icons i use

Integrating Google+ with Social Media Widget

Update – September 21, 2011: The developer released an update to this plugin so that it now automatically includes the Google+ input field.

Well I’m hoping very soon, the developer of the Social Media Widget plugin that I install to almost every single WordPress installation I complete… has plans to accommodate Google+, the easy way; by pasting in my profile URL into the appropriate “Google+” input field.

But since there is not yet a “Google+” input field, we can suffice with taking advantage of what the developer has already thought about… extending the features with custom options.

Right now, you can extend the widget’s feature set with custom selected icons. This could be a complete set of custom designed icons you found on the web or simply by adding a new social media “channel,” both via the widget panel. You’ll see it, when you take a look. A few more steps are required beyond simply pasting in your profile URL, but you can see below where you can add a G+ icon and insert your profile URL and you’ll be good-to-go, Google+ style.

adding a custom icon for google plus in your Social Media Widget plugin

Time to plug me.

Need some help with any of this? I can consult hourly or do the whole she-bang… a custom designed & uniquely-you web presence. Here are the best ways to contact me.


What The Hell, Facebook!

And How To Take It Personally

If you follow me on Facebook, yesterday I unfriended at least half of you with the invitation that if you don’t know me personally, you can “like” my Fanpage instead. Even if most of my status updates yesterday said 99% got axed, it’s really not quite that bad.

Why did I axe everyone?

Loving axed! (Can you tell?) Playing and having fun is sometimes the best way to bounce. When I allow myself to feel into playfulness and fun, I am more naturally able to let go of the things that are no longer serving me. I take the hard out and put the fun in.

Back to grinding “Ye Ole Axe”… I read this post from Darren Rowse a few weeks ago. The entire time saying to myself, “Yes, yes, yes… this is me too!” Darren is @Problogger on Twitter. And one of the best blogging resources around.

In “Dear FaceBook Friends, I’m De-Friending Most of You [It’s Not You, It’s Me]” it all became crystal clear.  My personal account on Facebook needs to be personal and its not.

So yesterday morning on Facebook, I began trumpeting what was going down… my personal friend count! So far it’s shrunk by 50%. And it feels really good!

Many of you brought to my attention the subject of boundaries which I love. And it’s true… there has been a complete transformation of boundaries in my personal and professional life underway throughout all of 2011 (it feels like).

Boundaries, I’m learning are for me. They are not a stop sign for you, even though sometimes it feels to me, that’s what I’m saying to you. I’m looking at my boundary as something that reminds me to keep loving me. To make myself the highest priority. Because it’s from a full heart I create and give back joyfully. Which is something I want to be experiencing more of. Joyful creative service.

It’s loving me the way I want to be loved. Adoring me, the way I wish to be adored, by my clients. By any one. A practice form of The Golden Rule, internalized.

Here’s that usually-forgotten-until-you-do-it pleasant surprise that comes from loving and tending to your boundaries like you would a beautiful garden… it’s called fresh clean air. Or, spaciousness. Freedom. A place to take a deep breath into what is, relax & trust and see again, everything really is for you.

So what the hell?!

Several of you mentioned that you were thinking of getting personal with Facebook yourselves.

I got the hint. And when Avril Lavigne came on the radio, this divine lightening rod from the Universe whispered (well screamed sorta, it is Avril) into my ear…

“All I want is to mess around,
I don’t really care if you love me or hate me,
you can’t save me.
All my life I’ve been good but now…
WHOA! What the hell!?”

And that was it… I also want and need a place not to be good, to mess around, and not be so optimistically delicious. More likely, I’ll still be delicious, even more so. Just one more reason to love your boundaries.

So, if Darren’s post doesn’t further flame your desire, maybe I can help demystify enough of it, for you to take the leap, and bounce into your own “What the hell?!”

Reclaiming your personal Facebook account as personal

  1. Is your Fanpage set up and ready to go? Get it going (if you haven’t). Fanpages are for anything. And most assuredly they are for you too. For me personally, I want to keep some of my “what-the-hell” moments out of sight from the whole freakin’ world.
  2. The day of “Ye Ole Axe” you’ll be tweeting (at least once and probably a couple of times throughout the week), and Facebook status-updating on both your personal page and your Fanpage. I made myself available a lot throughout the day, to interact and answer questions and just show up as the-Me-you-know-me-as, which seemed to soothe away any concerns. (Yo, who really wants to see me in my I ❤ vagina tee-shirt anyway?)
  3. You’ll want to look at un-tying any automatic status updating you may already have in place. I use Facebook’s NetworkedBlogs application to handle tweets and status updates to both my Facebook profile & Fanpage at the moment. Still unclear if I’m completely pulling the plug on my blog posts auto-updating to my personal page. We’ll see.
  4. On a go-forward: People requesting friendship with you at your personal Facebook page, simply reply “I’d really love it if we could connect here, at my Fanpage: [insert your fanpage URL here].”
  5. Speaking of Fanpage URLs, once 25 peeps like your page, you can visit http://facebook.com/username to set up your custom Fanpage URL. Remember the Facebook rules here, once you claim it, you can’t change it.

Ok, thaz it. Really. If you are lookin’ for some other good Facebook resources (like how to hell do I set up my Fanpage), check out my links on Delicious.

Have fun with this! It really helps. There were some more challenging moments throughout the process, as I cut deeper and deeper down into my original 458 followers on Facebook. And I’m not done! Facebook still shows me having 458 friends this morning so I’m thinking it may take Facebook a couple of days to come inline with my new slimmer Facebook personal account waistline. And then there’s the refreshing sense of feeling more open and available to what’s next. Yeah, that!

It’s amazing how being clear myself (boundaries are a healthy part of that support system) strengthens my own message.

Try it and let me know if the same is true for you! Avril will definitely help get you started from your fun & play place.


Reverberations, part 3

December 25 – Photo

A present to yourself. Sift through all the photos of you from the past year. Choose one that best captures you; either who you are, or who you strive to be. Find the shot of you that is worth a thousand words. Share the image, who shot it, where, and what it best reveals about you.

Last weekend in October. Tri-City Park. Shot by my girlfriend Andrea Kay Elliott. I think, so far, these photos best reveal me. Period.

December 24 Prompt – Everything’s OK

What was the best moment that could serve as proof that everything is going to be alright? And how will you incorporate that discovery into the year ahead? (Author: Kate Inglis)

So many “Everything’s OK” moments. In fact, around early October, I began looking for them, on purpose. And now they show up every single day.

In a street sign. In a song. In someone else’s post or tweet or Facebook update. In an email. In a dream. In text messages. A smile. In the way I can see my reflection in your shining eyes. And in the time you take to explain it to me so I can understand.

December 23 – New Name

Let’s meet again, for the first time. If you could introduce yourself to strangers by another name for just one day, what would it be and why? (Author: Becca Wilcott)

omg! i'm wanda!

December 22 – Travel

How did you travel in 2010? How and/or where would you like to travel next year? (Author: Tara Hunt)

Sedona, a Mexican Riviera cruise, home to Oregon in August. Lots of little travel stints. And of course, mobilenotarytalin’ it which can be several small trips in one day. That was 2010.

I’m hoping Australia/New Zealand is drawing closer. I’m not sure I see the complete details of how it might happen in 2011. You never know though and I like looking forward to it. For now, I have two web clients down under and you can bet I’ll be making friends with them and possibly asking to borrow a couch or visit couchsurfing.org. 🙂

December 21 – Future Self

Imagine yourself five years from now. What advice would you give your current self for the year ahead? (Bonus: Write a note to yourself 10 years ago. What would you tell your younger self?) (Author: Jenny Blake)

December 20 – Beyond Avoidance

What should you have done this year but didn’t because you were too scared, worried, unsure, busy or otherwise deterred from doing? (Bonus: Will you do it?) (Author: Jake Nickell)

I hinted at this. Several times actually. In December 13’s Action prompt, I said straight out, “To talk into this video camera, that’s been set-up in my office for three months and pretend it’s you.” And December 18th’s Try is mostly all about it too.

The true story about this is I wanted to do a video, for a new thing I created in my web business. I thought a video of me telling you the story of why I created the thing would be a good idea. Plus, I’ve been being nudged from a few of the people assigned to nudging me… a video will go far. It will!? Hmm, how far do I want to go?

I finally stopped shoulding myself about it all, just like the Try post said… “Until eventually, I gave up.”

This video… A video… will come when it comes. It’s more important for me to relax and have fun with this. Avoidance can only last so long. It serves its purpose well too, because eventually, it brings me back around to asking what’s really important to me (realignment). For now, my focus is to remember to have fun. When I’m ready for more, fun & I will see you in a video 😉

December 19 – Healing

What healed you this year? Was it sudden, or a drip-by-drip evolution? How would you like to be healed in 2011? (Author: Leonie Allan)

This year, I had a healing in perception. Seriously. It’s something I focus on every single day now. How I see things.

Sometimes, it feels like I can feel my perception healing. Like when I’m brave enough to be voice-to-voice with someone else, sifting through a misunderstanding. Or just maintaining a level of clarity in the conversation, requires sorting through each of our perceptions… and figuring out what is really going on.

The other speaks. You listen. And you hear the thoughts inside your head, changing shape. Dissolving even. You look inside your head and realize everything has changed. And that everything is only one thing… perception.

In 2011, may we all continue to heal our perception of how we are different from one another. May we go even further in the contemplation of ourselves and consider we are no different than Source itself. A living, breathing, physical expression of the Divine. May each of us go from perceiving our Divinity, to knowing it.

Next year, my wish for healing is to be reminded constantly of my Divine nature. To treat myself (and others) accordingly. Relaxing more each moment, into my Divine self.

There’s a love that’s Divine, and it’s yours and it’s mine… ~Van Morrison, Have I Told You Lately

December 18 – Try

What do you want to try next year? Is there something you wanted to try in 2010? What happened when you did / didn’t go for it? (Author: Kaileen Elise)

Next year – more in-person social media events… okay, one will do. One would… I mean will… be plenty for me.

Try in 2010 – naturally, all I can think about is what I didn’t do last year; that I really wanted to do. I guess, the compassionate me that trusts the process and all that, would say it’s in progress. And it is. But it really doesn’t help me feel better about it.

This is what is so distasteful to me about the word Try. It feels full of effort. And this year was all about easy. All year long I practiced being more & more aware of when I make it harder for myself. Or trying.

Until eventually, I gave up.

I said to myself, “No more trying. This will come when it comes. And, I need to find satisfaction with where I am with this or nothing will ever move.” So, that’s what I’m doing. Looking for the reasons to be satisfied with everything I did do in 2010.

More than satisfied. Because there’s a reason I put off doing what I really wanted to do. Resistance is under there. And wouldn’t it be better if I brought hopefulness or better yet, a positive expectation of how it might all turn out? Instead of beating myself up for not doing the thing I wanted to do?

So there. I tried. Trying just didn’t work for me. Or stopped working for me. A while ago. Last year, to be exact.

Trying has been replaced with knowing. And I am knowing that 2011 will be the best yet.

December 17 – Lesson Learned

What was the best thing you learned about yourself this past year? And how will you apply that lesson going forward? (Author: Tara Weaver)

See December 5th – Let go in Reverberations, part 1.

December 16 – Friendship

How has a friend changed you or your perspective on the world this year? Was this change gradual, or a sudden burst? (Author: Martha Mihalick)

grateful 4 the truthtellers in my life. those friends who help me see what i can't, hear what i don't and lead me back endlessly 2my own truth
Reverb10.com. An annual event and online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next. The end of the year is an opportunity to reflect on what’s happened, and to send out reverberations for the year ahead. With Reverb10, you can do both!

Writing Wishes For 2011

Reverb10.com. An annual event and online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next. The end of the year is an opportunity to reflect on what’s happened, and to send out reverberations for the year ahead.

December 2 Writing. What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it? (Author: Leo Babauta).

This is such a hot topic for me. Very excited when I read it this morning. Irony is, here I sit. Late evening. About to hit publish.

I drank up many great posts today, in and outside of #reverb10, wondering if/when I would have time to write my own installment and laughing, at myself and today’s prompt.

My Short & Sweet

I’m with @whollyjeanne on this one,

Lately everything contributes to my writing. And nothing – nothing at all – was gonna’ come between me and my writing on this day. grief is messy

But I think somehow the prompt is getting at what @DanielleLaPorte says here about the ‘mastery of stop’ and saying no to what’s distracting and draining,

2. I will not leave Twitter, Facebook and Gmail open while I write. I need blocks of two to three hours to think clearly and craft that clarity into something useful. Writing is a “yes!” to all three of the questions. what’s on your stop doing list?

In terms of manifesting what’s next for my writing, I’’ll start here. In 2011, I say ‘no’ more often to distraction. I become “let nothing stand in my way” determination. And remain open and awake to the offer.

Does The Technical Stuff Really Help Me Grow My Biz?

It’s 2010. Another day in a new economy. The one we are in the midst of redefining and rebuilding as we go.

The Internet has become an everyday tool. It certainly doesn’t appear to be going anywhere (as in going away) and instead is opening up our views and perspectives, making things from across the planet appear instantly in a web browser.

When we need something (directions, find the new book we want to read, even to hire someone for something), we usually head straight away over to Google.

I tell my clients incessantly, “Google is your friend!” and I can generally find just about anything I need or want with Google’s powerful search engine.

It’s kinda like how the Dewey Decimal system impacted the local library, right? Except, now information is at the tip of your fingers, via Google.

Why Blogging Is A Smart Idea For Small Biz Owners

Today’s new economy. The one we are rebuilding together. Seriously leaning into the optimysm here.

Yet if anything is going to change, it’s starts with each of us on an individual level. I mean, isn’t that why you’re in business? To help others with what you’ve got? To contribute on that individual level?

And even if you’ve stayed the traditional methods of growing a business, you would be remiss if you’ve not looked at leveraging the Internet. Except, chances are you are overwhelmed with where to start and which path will promise an end-result for your business.

And even so, while we’re doing nothing web-wise, it does nothing to change the fact that more and more people are going to Google instead of digging around in the hall closet for their Yellow Pages.

Specific Advantages of Being Web Presenced

I love this idea of leverage. Leverage, to me, is so smart. Because it’s about doing more with less. And that’s a huge state of grace for me. Leverage is smarter, healthier, more sustainable in the long run for me.

Leverage works in a ton of ways online. But, for now, I want to talk about the leverage of good content.

The piece I love about being web-presenced is that every page of content I create is like a member of my virtual business staff. Hanging out. At the storefront. Waiting for the next passer-by.

So even if I am away, I don’t really have to be… which is the game-changer itself.

And then my challenge as a biz owner becomes more about connecting, revealing, and telling stories that resonate with those that only my voice speaks to. And once I get that piece; the more I put out, the more I get back.

Speaking of connecting… another advantage is with virtual relationships. It’s where it’s at, if you’re growing a business online. Whether I am connecting with clients or collaborators of any kind (coaches, biz partners, etc.), I’m doing it virtually. Twitter, Facebook, Blogging… connecting (networking) in the new economy!

The biggest advantage to having your small biz online: Leverage; in content, in relationships and much, much more.

Beginnings… And Not Knowing If You Need A Blog Or Web Site

Here you go, a bit of peace of mind… what if I said it’s not an either/or decision? Yes. You can have both or one or none (hopefully none is off the table at this point).

Your options:

  • a traditional website
  • a website with a newsletter or some other opt-in
  • a blog and a tribe (community of people)

Traditional website is fine and good. It works. But it just sits there. We are human beings. We like interactivity. We’re looking to connect in some way. Going (I think) is people hiding in corporate-y entities and biz structures. Coming is the new economy where I contribute by doing my own thang; leveraging new systems, tools, relationships.

Website with newsletter or other opt-in, well now we’re getting somewhere. You’re actually asking visitors to part with something they have and is actually very highly prized in the Information Age… their name & email address. But, if you have something cool they want (ebook, tips, help with their specific challenge, etc.), they’ll happily give it up!

Blog & Tribe, the big kahuna. 🙂 Tribe: A following of people who are somewhere between “I think you’re cool” to “I’m totally freakin’ nuts about you and will do anything you ask me to.”

Blogging is how you build the tribe. Telling your version of the truth. Helping other people. Everyday. One post at a time.

For more on Blog or Web Site, I have another post where I talk about it.

Using Blogging Tools For Your Business

Part of being a business owner is cutting costs, lowering expenses. Using blogging tools is the smartest, most efficient way to build any of the three web-presence-y options. Even if you are not going to be blogging, you can set it up to look like a traditional web site. True story.

Plus a blog is already built and set up in a way to leverage the Internet itself. All blog platforms will have a built-in RSS feed, which is just a fancy way to say that it’s ready to easily pass your content on (get viral). Plus the search engines treat blogs a little differently because they know content is written/updated almost daily… so it’s checks for those frequently. This is called indexing and it’s a really good thing.

Plus you don’t have to learn (much) HTML.  😉

You’ll get real-time feedback (comments) which help you begin building relationships immediately.  Relating to your visitors, helping them.

So, you see, it’s not just about the technical stuff… it’s about helping people. And getting the technical stuff to help you so you can help them.

How can I help you today?