2010 February

Podcast #9: Stupid Social Media Advice

In our 9th podcast we react to a recent news channel’s story on how social media, and especially Facebook, can affect your marriage. What? Yeah.

See for yourself: the most ridiculous social media advice ever: [WCCO video].

Listen Online


We react to the following list of dos and don’ts by psychologist John Buri of the University of St. Thomas. Here’s what he said. You can hear our thoughts about this in the podcast (and in the brackets below):

The Dos

1. Share your username and password with your spouse. [WHAT?!]

2. Include your spouse in pictures and status updates.

3. Tell your spouse whenever someone asks to “friend” you. [Really? Every friend request? Oy vey.]

The Don’ts

1. Don’t criticize your spouse online. [DUH!]

2. Don’t “friend” exes.

3. Don’t engage in private chat. [Um, by this logic you better stop answering your phone, too.]

Take the hilarious Facebook compulsion quiz! http://tumanov.com/quiz/

What do you think? Are we wrong, or is this the most ridiculous crap ever said aloud?

DIY Web Tools

Geeky reader Allison from St. Paul wrote to ask, “My uncle, a retired lawyer, is thinking of offering his services to students, helping them get into law school (and figure out if it’s even what they want). 2 questions: 1. any suggestions on how to build a simple website, and more importantly, optimize it so it shows up in google searches? 2. if he were to try some grassroots Facebook marketing, would you suggest a Group or a Fan page?”

Great questions! Sometimes, when you’re just getting started on a new idea, you have to do things yourself for little to no cost. Here are some thoughts:

DIY Website

For a quick and simple site, my favorite tool is Weebly — even for the least tech-savvy person, it’s a great tool. Your uncle could easily build a small site himself; they have some excellent templates to start with. If he likes it after playing with it a bit, he can upgrade to a Pro account and use his own URL (www.hisname.com instead of hisname.weebly.com). That’s a great place to start, especially if his business is just starting out. If things really start to take off, he can invest in a custom web design. (He can have someone create and install custom design templates into Weebly.)

Here’s a post that Nancy did about inexpensive sites (including Weebly) in ’08.


As long as he’s creating a clean HTML site (which Weebly does) he’ll get indexed by Google. He may want or need to just figure out which keywords to focus on. Google has a keyword research tool; using that, he can check to see how many searches are done with particular words or phrases. The more searches are done on a given word, the more competition there will be to be a top result for that word.

Getting ranked by Google in organic search results takes time; the algorithm considers how long a site has been around and how many other sites link to that site in addition to how relevant the site is to what the user is searching for (which is where the keyword stuff comes in). So, you either have to be patient or consider buying AdWords if you want to show up in search results right away.

Here’s a post Nina Hale wrote for us in ’08 on Pay-Per-Click advertising.

Facebook: Pages vs. Groups

For Facebook marketing, there’s a few things he might consider: first, Facebook Ads are pretty cheap and he could test them out to drive traffic to his website and see if he gets leads from it.

As far as a Page vs. a Group, for what he’s doing I’d suggest a Page. (There is talk that Groups will start to act more like Pages in the future — meaning activity will be more visible, but for right now Pages are the way to go. Especially for a business; a Group is really more appropriate if you want to create a community.)

Your uncle may even want to consider just doing a Page and skipping the “real” web site — as soon as he’s got 25 Fans (which could be friends and family to start) he create a custom URL (like www.facebook.com/hisname) and he could just refer people directly there to contact him. To set up a custom URL for a Page, visit www.facebook.com/username.

I’d think that referrals would be a big source of business for him at first so, honestly, I think starting with a Facebook page and building referrals from there (and maybe also supplementing with some Facebook ads that drive traffic to that Page) would be a great, very low investment place to start!

Geek Camps for Minnesota Girls (and Boys!)

Geeky reader Sandra from Minneapolis said, “I heard a provocative rumor that you have, or will be starting, a summer camp for school age girls.  I have a soon to be eight-year-old daughter who is crazy into computers and I’d love to give her some extracurricular opportunities.  Are the rumors true?”

My, that is a provocative (and awesome) rumor. I wish it was true!

At this point, we are focused more on adults and working professionals and have not ventured into much content for young girls. Not that we don’t have the desire, but with full-time jobs and both of us with young kids at home — we have to focus or risk going crazy.

With that said, here’s what I know about right now for geeky kid camps in Minnesota:

Computer Camps for Girls in MN

DigiGirlz: High tech camps by Microsoft. There don’t appear to be any Minnesota camps running right now, but this may be a good spot to keep an eye on.

Digital Media Academy (U of M): Sadly, all of the kid sessions are currently closed, but it might be something to keep in mind for the future.

Eagles Summer Camp (Science Technology Engineering Arts Math (STEAM) Focus): This appears to be free for all Minnesota students entering grades 6, 7, or 8.

Geek Squad Summer Academy: Camps run by Best Buy and Geek Squad employees on a variety of techie topics.

Giant Camps (Online Camps): For ages 10-17

iD Tech Camp (Macalester College): For boys and girls 7-17.

Science Museum of Minnesota: I have my four-year-old daughter signed up for a rocket class this spring!

Help Us, Readers!

Do you know of any computer camp opportunities for girls in MN (or any other state, for that matter)? Let’s get our girls to geek out this summer!

Podcast: The Cult of Social Media

In our eighth podcast we talk about the cult of social media, what to look for when choosing your social team and how to tell the difference between social media enthusiasm and expertise. We’ve now got three ways for you to listen:

Listen Online

Click the cute little button below to stream the audio in your browser window.

Join the Discussion

What did we miss? What do you think is important to illustrate expertise and experience in social media? What successes or failures have you experienced when trying to assemble a social media SWAT team, or find a social media consultant?

Product Review: Corel Digital Studio

Hi, we’re the Geek Girls and we’re Macs. But, hey — we know that 90% of the rest of the world are PCs and we love all our friends, regardless of platform. We recently received a copy of Corel Digital Studio to review (and a copy to give away!) so we dusted off our PC and checked it out for you.


This little suite ended up surprising us a quite a bit! At first glance (and during installation), it seemed a bit overwhelming, but once you really get into the program it becomes easy to use and navigate. 


Digital Studio includes a photo editor, video editor, burning element, and media player, all of which are easily accessed via a Desktop Widget. The widget proves to be very helpful when working on projects requiring all of those features, or just a little bit of a lot of functionality.


Grabbing and editing photos with Corel Digital Studio is surprisingly easy. You have the ability to import from a variety of sources including your computer, camera, mobile phone, webcam, scanner, and other devices (like an external hard drive).

 Once your photos have been imported, you can create albums and projects like a photobook, a greeting card, a crafty collage, a handy calendar, a family slideshow, or a backup disc. Finally, you can share your photo projects via email, Facebook, Flickr, or YouTube right from the interface.

We liked the templates that allowed us to quickly and easily make a family album or fun and totally personalized greeting card.  With Valentine’s Day right around the corner – Corel Digital Studio is a great way to give your loved ones what they really want – something thoughtful and from the heart.



Your videos work much the same way.  Just like photos, you can import video from a variety of sources including, your computer, a video disc, camera, mobile phone, webcam, TV tuner/capture card, a tape-camcorder, internal memory-camcorder, or other (like an external drive). 

Once you import a video, you’ve started your video project. It’s easy getting started with the pre-existing video backgrounds and themes.  We used one to make the test video below. After you create your movie you can export it into a number of file types, all of which come with a great description of the best place to put the files when you’re done (if you’re not file savvy this is a very helpful piece of information). 

Once you have your file saved you can share share it in a variety of ways, put it on YouTube, send via email, save it on your local drive, drop it on Facebook or Flickr (it’s not just for photos anymore). The one function during the save/share process that we weren’t so enamored with was selecting where to save your file. The user experience around this feature was just a little awkward.  But we managed.


For the most part we were impressed with Corel Digital Studio.  Mostly because it is perfect for our audience.  The interface is intuitive and easily navigable by folks who don’t spend their whole lives playing with video. If you’re looking to add a lot of special effects, or you have really specific editing requirements this little program might be too simple for you. But if you want to jump right in and start using your photos and videos in new and creative ways and share them with friends and family then Corel Digital Studio is for you!


The nice people at Corel gave us a spare copy that we can give away. Drop us a line in the comments and tell us why you should get it and we’ll pick a winner using Random.org.  And because we want you to feel the love, the cut off for the drawing is Valentine’s Day (02/14/10) at noon CST.  So comment now and comment often.


Here’s a sample video we created in just minutes:



Contest is over and #6 is our winner.  Jon – send us an email to claim your prize.

Upcoming Event: State of the Industry

We will be at the State of the Industry event hosted by Meetings (Minnesota’s Hospitality Journal) on Tuesday February 2, 2010, holding a series of roundtable discussions on Social Media and how it’s used in the hospitality industry for events and conferences.

It’s not too late to join us! You can still register for the event; while you’re there, enter SOIGUEST10 and save $10!

It’s going to be a fun day and we hope to see some of you there.

To see more events the Geek Girls will be speaking at please check out the schedule. To book us at your next event or conference, drop us a line!