Amy Guth

Twitter lists

In this week’s Chicago Tribune ‘So Social’ column, I talk about Twitter lists and how they can make your Twitter-life way easier.

Read: A look at Twitter lists by Amy Guth via Chicago Tribune’s ‘So Social’ column


Facebook tags: how and why (and video)

In this week’s ‘So Social’ column, I discuss the importance of using Facebook tags when posting, and I explain how to use them without a bunch of nonsense.  Also at this link is an episode of ’30 Second Social’ in which I demonstrate how to tag on Facebook.

Read: Why Facebook tags are important via Chicago Tribune’s ‘So Social’ column by Amy Guth. As ever, visit for a weekly dose of doable social media.

Google alerts how-to and video

How to set a Google alert is the topic I tackle in this week’s Chicago Tribune ‘So Social’ column. I explain why Google alerts are not only nothing about which to be sheepish, but why they are super-important, and when used creatively, even useful. At the same link, you’ll see an episode of ’30 Second Social’ in which I explain how to get going with Google alerts to easy way.

Read: A case for using Google alerts via Chicago Tribune’s ‘So Social’ column by Amy Guth. As ever, visit for archives of the weekly social media column.

Jason Fisk: ‘Salt Creek Anthology’ author

Meet Jason Fisk. He’s an author. He’s recent book, “Salt Creek Anthology” he describes as “a choose your own adventure book, only for adults. It’s as much about place as it is a group of neighbors.” When asked to select a song representative of the book, he tells me “The Suburbs” by Arcade Fire.

Fisk and I Q&A’d all up in here:

Q: Which section of this book is most autobiographical?
A: Oh, that’s a tough one, I think the early neighbor relationships in the book are most autobiographical.

Q: Which of your characters do you most like? Most dislike?
A: I really dislike Nonnie, she’s so manipulative and controlling. I really like Gary, despite his racism. He definitely has a heart, as misguided as it may be.

Q: When did you know you were a writer?
A: I still don’t really think of myself as a writer. I’m always telling myself, “If you can just get to that next level, than I’ll be a real writer,” but I’m never really satisfied with what I accomplished.

Q: Nonsense. What would you have to write, do you suppose, to feel right about declaring yourself a writer?
A: That’s a tough question for me. Maybe it’s low self-esteem, but it seems like I get these ideas that if I can do this or that, then I’d consider myself a writer, but once I reach those goals (small goals), I feel empty, like I have too keep going. Somewhere, embedded deep in there, is some warped idea of success, and it’s tiered, which keeps me striving for the next level. That’s not really an answer… I don’t know if I’ll ever feel like a writer.

Q: What are your writing rituals?
A: Laptop and something to drink; it can’t be an alcoholic beverage because it’s too distracting. I cannot have music on, but need some background noise, usually the TV on ESPN with the volume low.

Q: Oh, yeah? Who is your team? What do you make of the Theo/Carpenter thing?
A: My team? Alright, I spent my formative years in Minnesota, which has warped my sports sensibilities (according to many a Chicagoan). I love the Twins, but since moving to Chicago, have developed a fondness for the Cubs, which to some is a sellout. I think I’m allowed a NL favorite and an AL favorite, right? That being said, The Theo/Carpenter thing seems like a win/win for the Cubbies. I’m not really sure why the Red Sox agreed to it, but I’m not complaining. Football? Vikings, and could never, ever be a Bears fan. Hockey? Blackhawks: It was all North Stars when I was growing up, and since they left MN, I thumb my nose at them. Basketball? Da’ Bulls

Q: Back to writing. What one book did you read that changed everything?
A: I read “The Violent Bear It Away” by Flannery O’Connor in high school. I had been introduced to her short stories in class, and sought out more of her stuff on my own. The book is dark and twisted, and while the events of the book didn’t match up exactly with what I had been experiencing, they matched up enough to comfort me a great deal. It went beyond comfort, too. It offered me a new way to look at religious zealots, which was something I desperately needed at the time. There has not been a book since that has altered my view of life like that book did; it made me realized that my views were so limited.

Q: What drives you apesh*t to see writers doing?
A: People writing better stories/poems than me.

Q: Fair enough. What was the last thing that you read that made you go, “Damn! I wish I wrote that”…?
A: I always say, “Damn, I wish I wrote that.” The last thing that really blew me away was a short story called, “Dance in America” by Lorrie Moore. There was something magical about that story that I just couldn’t put my finger on, and I love it when that happens.

Q: Before you go– Will you tell me a joke?
A: What do the Los Angeles Angels (of Anaheim) and Winnie the Pooh have in common? They both have Pujols (“pooh-holes”). Too off color? Save me from myself…

Jason Fisk’s “Salt Creek Anthology” is available for download from Chicago Center of Literature and Photography ( in Radiohead’s pay-what-you-please model.


#30SecSocial: SEO for Flickr

In this episode of “30 Second Social,” I explain how to optimize your flickr images for search engines. Because when you do that, people can find you and your brilliant stuff. Right? Right.

Watch: Optimizing Flickr’s SEO value, #30SecSocial

#30SecSocial: Facebook status tags

This week’s “#30 Second Social” is all about the how and why to tag someone in a Facebook status update.

Watch: How to add status tags on Facebook hosted by Amy Guth, Chicago Tribune’s “#30 Second Social” series

#30SecSocial: Twitter bio SEO

Episode 4 of  “30 Second Social” explains how to optimize your Twitter bio for search engines. Watch the video, hosted by yours truly, at Chicago Tribune TV: “Twitter: search engine optimization with twitter bio keywords.” Also, Scott Kleinberg and I are sharing special social media-themed Spotify playlists to accompany “30 Second Social” episodes, including this Facebook playlist and this Twitter playlist, both the first of many.

#30SecSocial: Facebook tag

“30 Second Social” is a new social media Web series from Chicago Tribune TV which  Scott Kleinberg and I co-created. Every week, one of us will host a new episode that explains one idea or action in social media or SEO in about thirty seconds.  In the first episode, “Twitter: how to #FF,” Kleinberg gave overview of the follow Friday concept.

This week in the second episode of “30 Second Social,” I explain how to tag a photo on Facebook. It’s about 30 seconds of focus on one simple action related to Facebook. Easy.

Thanks for watching. We had a great time putting together for first batch and have many more episodes en route.

2012 resolution: rush only when chased

A few weeks ago, while speaking on a panel at an event, I was asked to name my social media predictions for the year ahead. “Who here did not feel like the past year or two was a blur of rushing around?” I started (paraphrased). People nodded. I pointed to sites like Pinterest and 500px and predicted that in 2012 we will see a shift in focus from quantity to quality, from mass volume to thoughtful selection. I, for one, could not be happier about this.

It was along with this thinking that I came to decide upon my resolution for 2012. My resolution sounds about as simple as it gets: no rushing (or, rush only when chased). In theory, it is simple; trade rushing through my day for not rushing through my day. Duh. In practice, though, “no rushing” has its complexities, and that’s where resolutions and resolve come in.

“No rushing,” is more than setting a goal and hoping for the best. That’s not my style. I’m down to do the work to make this into habit. I believe in this because while working under pressure is no big whoop, and while my cool head never fails in (actual) emergency situations, rushing around drives me crazy. It’s not fun. It’s not living, it’s rushing. I’m not at my best when rushing through life, and I doubt I ever will be.  So, my choices are pretty simple: I can get good at rushing around or stop rushing. I chose to stop rushing.

“No rushing,” encompasses more than getting more organized, it is more than simplifying, and far, far more than the teachings of the good-in-theory-but-oft-flimsy “be in the moment” school of thought. My resolution is more than “do more by doing less” (though there are elements of that in the loose plan), and different than getting rid of stuff or saying “yes” or “no” more often.

“No rushing” addresses the “Don’t have time? Make time” adage, and the idea that rushing around like a dervish should be reserved for an actual emergency and not, say, a Wednesday. Rush when chased by a serial killer, fireball or tornado, not, say, to buy pantyhose. I mean really. Enough. Enough rushing around more often than not. Enough over-scheduling. Enough “where did the day go?” (or month, or year). Enough “busy as hell” being standard answer for far too many questions. Enough juggling. Enough.

To 2012: Enough “busy,” more “completion.” More just being. More fun. More action. More “already did that.” More boundaries. More experiences, and better experiences. More bucket list, less to do list.  More living, no rushing.

UPDATE: This post is included in ChronicBabe’s blog carnival of resolutions. Do take a moment to visit and read the other resolution posts, too. 

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