I did quite a bit of waffling as to whether I would do this project for the third year in a row. I really enjoy doing it, but last year I got a fair amount of accusations tossed my way – that I did this for comment bait or link bait. This could not be further from the truth. I enjoy sharing peoples’ work. I enjoy revisiting posts that I admired over the course of a year. Whether you opt to share or comment is really up to you. I suppose people who want to make a positive thing negative will find a way to do so. Meanwhile, for the rest of us, I present my 100 favorite posts of 2012. I hope you enjoy revisiting some of these, or maybe reading them yourself for the first time.
Posts about family
1. Social Media: 1918 – I still think about this wonderful post Olivier Blanchard wrote back in February. As the product of generations of immigrants, I don’t have a lot of remnants left of my family’s past. What we do have, I can’t really identify. There are face I don’t know, objects I don’t know the importance of. Did that come from Russia? At what point was she in New York? Are you making efforts to create your legacy for future generations?
2. Fertility Issues and Gratitude – This post by Geoff Livingston was brave, touching, inspirational, and motivational. Geoff has really evolved over the last year or so, all for the better. It’s hard not to just link to his entire blog site!
3. What a Dish! Random Thoughts of Meaningful Life Moments – John Boyle put together a beautiful remembrance of his grandmother in this piece. It is indeed the tiny moments that creep up on us when we least expect it.
4. Love You Best, Mom - This is truly a beautiful blog post that Susan Fox (aka gagasgarden) wrote about her mother and how a flower – the peonie, calls back such powerful memories.
5. SMAC! Crowdfunding Campaign Rewards – Next Steps – It’s hard to pick just one of Jennifer Windrum’s posts, but following her journey not only through her beloved mother’s passing but also, at the same time, to an amazing success in starting what will be a wonderful cause, was truly one of the most memorable experiences I have absorbed during my time online. This post is not just about Jennifer’s family – it’s about the online family we’re all in, too.
6. Is it a Boy or a Girl? It’s a… - Another memorable experience I got to enjoy this year was watching Matthew and Annie Browne prepare for their baby, who is now here, healthy, and adorable (hi Sammy!). The Brownes experienced a miscarriage and to see them be able to find joy not long after was wonderful. This post was when I felt they were really on their way to a safe ending to the story.
7. The Gift of Christopher – Angela Maiers experienced what we all dread – the sudden and unexpected loss of a family member. In this case she lost her beloved brother Chris to suicide. However, in typical Angela fashion, she did not use this post to complain about how unfair life is. She offered a beautiful tribute and used her own family’s experience to remind everyone of her manifesto – you matter.
8. My Kids Know My Name – Marcus Sheridan captures what is most important in life in this touching post. Despite his traveling and his huge amounts of work, Marcus knows his kids, his family, are the most important people to focus on.
9. Blended Families Story #1 – Permission Works Both Ways - This was a brave and honest post by Nate Riggs, who discusses trying not to lose your temper with your kids, giving yourself and them permission to be frustrated or even angry, and how to navigate those narrow and twisted channels of human relationships.
10. Why I’m Not Writing a Book This Year - This post made me cry when I read it. I still remember pulling it up on my phone while I was waiting to see my chiropractor. Jay Baer unfortunately lost his brother unexpectedly shortly after the holidays this year, and this post unravels how you recommit to your family after something like that happens. It was another brave post.
11. It Doesn’t Get Easier - Aaron Biebert wrote this beautiful piece about life, change, and how that change never gets easier to understand or cope with.
12. Generations – They are all gone now – Jack Steiner reminds us that as the older generations pass away and new generations come along, we slowly move into the slot of the “old generation.” What does that mean? What responsibilities are inherent in that change?
Posts for the Kids
13. What Would You Say to a High School Student Who Feels Lost and Controlled By Family? - Ellen Bremen is a warm human being, an excellent professor, and author of Say This, Not That to Your Professor. With all of that said, this post really is an important read for students and family. Use professors as allies if you feel you don’t have control of your own life.
14. College is Not A Spectator Sport - I wish Lauren Kirkpatrick had been around when I was starting out in college. This advice is important to take to heart. Like so many things in life, your college experience will be what you put into it.
15. Stats Show Teens Increasingly Favor Twitter over Facebook – I thought this post was really interesting, which is not surprising given that Shelly Kramer wrote it. As marketers, it is important to remember that the teens of today could well be your customers…or clients…of tomorrow. Are you paying attention?
16. I Survived. These Children Did Not: Cyberbullying – We all know that bullying, both online and off, is becoming an increasingly serious problem in America. Ty Sullivan wrote a pretty amazing post drawing attention to this issue in early 2012. It’s tough to look at those faces and realize their hope and innocence was so cruelly snuffed out. But it’s important to look. And to remember.
17. Savvy East Coast College Road Trip – Duke University – My good friend Brian Vickery is doing the college selection process with his daughter, and in the process she is writing up some posts summarizing her experiences. These are great reads (and vlogs) if you are the parent of a high school senior.
18. Top 10 Survival Tips for College – Jodi Okun’s team offered some great advice for college students just getting started. Once again, I wish these folks had been around when I was getting ready to start college!
19. High School Graduation, 2012 – I’m not that dad #23 – It’s hard to pick just one Bruce Sallan post – reading his blog is like getting to know his kids yourself, only they’re already grown up and you’re working your way backwards! This post, marking Arnie’s high school graduation, is a keeper – more a vlog than a blog!
20. Miami Children’s Hospital – Battling Dravet Syndrome – If you follow Dan Perez at all you know he has done a lot for the Miami Children’s Hospital’s VACC Camp. This year he also started raising awareness about Dravet Syndrom, a crippling disease that affects children. Dan did a whole series on children suffering from this disease – they are all worth your time.
21. The Day Even Glitter Didn’t Help – How do you help a young child deal with the news that someone they care about or love is battling a dreadful disease? This beautiful post from Michelle Kay offers some wisdom.
22. Fighting Cancer…Again - This post by Mitch Joel reminds us that cancer can strike anyone, anytime – even kids. How do you deal with that kind of blow?
Posts of Bravery (I can’t say I “liked” some of these, but I admire the bravery the authors showed. Many of the topics are quite tough)
23. C is for Cookie – Not This Time – Everyone who knew her was shocked and saddened to see the news that Brandie McCallum had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Brandie continued to share her journey with her online community through many posts, but this, as the first one, sticks out most in my mind.
24. Rape is not a “sex” crime. Rape is a violent crime! – Alyssa Royse reminds us in this powerful post that even if you aren’t a fan of semantics, calling rape a “sex crime” still softens what rape truly is. It is a violent crime. Sometimes a deadly crime. Calling it what it is may help us prevent it.
25. Cancer, You Have It – I was shocked to see yet another friend announce a diagnosis of cancer over the summer. In Jim Mitchem’s case the diagnosis was not as severe, and his presentation, as always, was distinctly his.
26. Welcome to the New Year! - A lot of people were stunned to find out that Gini Dietrich’s SpinSucks had been on the verge of bankruptcy in 2011. It is a testament to her dedication (and her people) that SpinSucks today is doing better than ever. Not many people would want to tell that kind of story, however. It was a brave thing to do.
27. Moving and the “Santa Isabel Molinos” Experiment – Raúl Colon has long been a marketer and friend, but his passion truly bloomed this year as he began writing about his native Puerto Rico. There is a lot going on there that the mainstream media (sadly) does not cover.
28. Announcing New Book: Influence Marketing by Sam Fiorella and Danny Brown – What could be more brave than embarking on a book-writing tour? Sam and Danny are going to do wonderfully well, but they deserve credit for bravery anyway
Posts of Wisdom
29. 7 Life-Skill Lessons to Teach Your Children – Martina offers amazing wisdom every day, but this post particularly stuck with me as a reminder to parents. Kids may not remember what you say, but they do remember what you do. Be mindful.
30. Homework. III – Julien Smith has been giving his readers homework assignments all year, akin to the homework he gives in his book The Flinch. I particularly liked this one though, because your homework is to plant a much needed seed of doubt into someone’s head. If that doesn’t make sense, you definitely need to read this post.
31. Practicing Loving Speech Online – Another jewel from Geoff Livingston, this is something people should consciously try to do with every online interaction. It might be more tricky than you think.
32. Take Action. Don’t Sit And Wait – This still remains my favorite post by Raúl Colon. It’s so easy to sit and complain, especially when you’re at the computer. Try doing something about it instead. You’ll be amazed what a difference it makes.
33. What I Wish I Could Tell My Friend – great wisdom from my wonderful friend Sherree – if you’ve ever lost a pet this post will resonate immensely.
34. A Pivotal Message for Women Leaders About Our Feminine Side - Lisa Petrilli is one of the more remarkable people you could hope to meet. This post is one illustration of her power. A very important reminder is in this post. Women don’t need to be manly. There is plenty of power in being a woman.
35. The 7 Benefits of Being Small – Molly Cantrell-Kraig, in her own unique way, reminds you that being small – as a person or as a business – is not such a bad thing. In fact, there can be benefits to that scenario.
36. Put me in coach, just give me a chance – Bill Dorman works as a Guardian ad Litem when he is not working for his insurance company. In this post he reminds us that even if we think we’re having a bad day, we probably are having a great day compared to some of the people he has seen in court. It’s all about perspective.
37. Stop Treating Me Like A Woman – Why is there a “Forbes for Women” and a “Huffington Post for Women” and womens’ clubs and womens’ week and all of this other segregated stuff? Carol Roth says enough is enough. Women aren’t quota fillers, we’re people.
Customer Service Brilliance
38. Difficult Customers: Free Your Mind to Give Superior Service – Are you feeling like a customer or client is just giving you endless amounts of trouble? Instead of continuing the cycle of negativity, Kate Nasser suggests you open your mind to other ways of looking at the situation.
39. A Purchase Order Does Not Guarantee Customer Loyalty – It’s easy to think that once you have made a sale, you have also created a loyal, long-time customer. Sam Fiorella reminds us that that is just not necessarily the case. It’s a relationship – it takes work.
40. What are customer complaints? They’re gifts – Adam Toporek points out what you may have noticed in the online world or in your business. If you get complaints, you can try to rectify the situation. If you only get silence from your customers, they may leave and you will have no idea why. The important thing is to make sure you react to complaints effectively.
41. Tradition, Connections, and Your Business – Ken Mueller reminds us that customers don’t just want to feel like they’re connected with a faceless brand. People like to be tied into a story, especially a good story. They like to be able to incorporate you into their lives via traditions and patterns of behavior built over time. Are you allowing that to happen?
42. When is it time to fire your customer? A review – Amy McCloskey Tobin notes that sometimes, you reach a certain point where your relationship with a customer is not beneficial to anybody. How do you know when you get there? How do you handle those situations? She offers some advice.
43. The art of great service and when we stopped listening – What is one of the most important steps towards customer service? Actually listening to your customers, even if they are saying things you don’t want to hear. Danny Brown reminds us of that in this finely crafted post.
The wacky world of Social Media
Facebook was a hot topic this year and inspired some pretty excellent posts.
44. The Mysterious Case of Oracle Social and Facebook Likes - Danny Brown (among others) noticed that seemingly over-night, the Oracle Social Facebook page accrued tens of thousands of likes. What exactly was going on here?
There were a lot of posts in reaction to the HubSpot launch of the VOAL (value of a like) calculator. Here are two of the best I saw.
45. How to Measure the Value of a Like – Olivier Blanchard engages in some common sense to point out why the formula, well, doesn’t work.
46. What’s in a Like? Measuring the Value of a Like - Zachary Chastain concentrated a bit more on the philosophical nature of what a “like” is and why it is not the most important thing to measure.
and still more Facebook….
47. How to share content on the Facebook mobile app – Yes, FINALLY it’s possible to share things on your smart phone when you’re using the Facebook app. But it’s not as easy as you might think. Shelly Kramer walks you through the steps.
48. 1200% ROI with Facebook Ads According to Facebook – If this sounds too good to be true, Jim Dougherty over at Leaderswest agrees with you. He breaks down this statement and pretty much proclaims it to be…highly fishy.
Of course, Facebook wasn’t all we talked about!
49. LinkedIn Networking #Fail: A Cautionary Tale for Job Seekers – in this post, Dawn Rasmussen makes some suggestions on how you should network as a job seeker on LinkedIn…and how you should not.
50. No! LinkedIn Just Went Klout on Us! – There was a lot of talk about the new “endorsements” feature on LinkedIn, but I think Eric Wittlake’s summary of the new feature captured my own sentiments perfectly.
51. Digital Crisis Management 101: A Macro View – The team at Tickr put together an excellent tutorial on how to monitor for an online crisis and then the right way to deal with it.
52. Social Media Fakers and Posers: The Fauxperts – This post by Susie Parker stuck in my head, not only because it’s a great post but also because, well, Fauxperts!! She makes a great point though. The snake oil salesmen are out in force. Can you spot them?
53. Your Fill in the Blanks Social Media Bandwagon Blog Post – I still laugh about this post whenever I think about it. Dave Van de Walle thinks sometimes the online world gets to be a little bit of an echo chamber, so much so that he offered a template that most blog posts could fit into when the next “big thing” pops up.
54. Are we too old for social media, or not old enough? – You might remember the huge controversy that occurred earlier this year when a young woman suggested “older” folks shouldn’t be in charge of social media marketing. Unfortunately, a lot of responses to the post were rather violent, but Allen Mireles offered this thoughtful response that I think covers the bases pretty well.
55. 10 tips for nonprofit social media success - I am not including this just because it has the word “zombies” in it. I promise. This is an excellent summary of advice from Mila Araujo, and even if you are a for-profit business, it’s well worth your time!
56. Restless Feelings in this Online World – I was really touched that Kaarina decided to write a post just based on something I shared on Facebook. We had a good conversation about it via email and then it even became the subject of a Hecklers’ Hangout. I think Kaarina worded things a lot better than I did!
57. Fake Online Reviews on the Rise – Frederic Gonzalo notes that as companies are starting to weigh online reviews more heavily, the number of fake online reviews is increasing. What can be done to help businesses identify what they should listen to and what they should ignore?
58. The Pinterest Debate Between Two Friends – Gini Dietrich was one of the first people I knew who not only embraced Pinterest, she kind of … well, fell in love. But there were people who were skeptical of Pinterest’s value as a marketing tool. Gini opened up the topci on her own site so people could make up their own minds.
59. Why I don’t want to be “fabulous” on Pinterest - Sherree Worrell was one of the people who rather resented the status of Pinterest as the “next big thing” for marketers. I think she makes a pretty strong point here!
60. Why I hate infographics 197% of the time – 2012 was certainly “the year of the infographic. Sean McGinnis was already tired of them in January. This still makes me laugh.
61. Operationalize Your Content Marketing Strategy – There were, in this woman’s opinion, far, far too many posts about content marketing as a general “thang” throughout this year. However, Michael Brito makes the concept real while offering actual actionable advice for companies This one is a keeper!
62. If Klout is fixed, why are they profiling an 11-year-old kid? – This was just the beginning of the Danny Brown v. Klout saga, but this story had a lot of people in an uproar. Klout’s reaction to the problem of children being profiled on Klout was slow and to some, not 100% thorough.
63. Reconciling Privacy and Personalization – A Look into Commitment Scoring – I told Jason Konopinski that he could easily create an entire series out of this one individual post. It covers a LOT of topics and is very thought-provoking for a lot of different reasons.
64. 10 Tips Why To Appoint a Social Media Executor – We are getting to that point where our online world is becoming almost as complex as our offline world. If something happened to you, would your community be notified? Would your automated accounts continue to run? Jayme Soulati reminds us that these are issues we should carefully consider.
65. Magic Wand for Entrepreneurs - Catherine Morgan has your entire business solution here in one fell swoop. What is it? Take anxiety out of the game and repeat to yourself, “It’s not that hard.” I think she’s on to something.
66. 5 Nonprofit Lessons from the Walking Dead – OK, I partially love this one because of the title, but Joe Waters also offers some really good advice here!
67. Brand Storytelling: Why Your Employees Should Tell Your Story – The always wise Cheryl Burgess offers an important reminder here. The story of your company – your company’s brand – should be in everyone’s DNA, from bottom to top. Your brand is only as strong as the weakest link.
68. Why the cold calling debate is a red herring – Doug Rice points out that cold calling can still be done and can still yield success. It just depends on how you approach it. Like anything, if you do something well you’re more likely to get good results.
69. How to discover your perfect value proposition – This lesson is also included in John Jantsch’s wonderful book, The Commitment Engine. As a company, you need to know what differentiates you before you can explain it to others. John shows you how to get there.
70. From Sales, A Marketing Lesson – Barrett Rossie does a beautiful job in this post of telling a story about how a sales person taught him the value of listening. It’s an important lesson for your sales team AND your marketing team.
71. The first year of business: what no one ever tells you – Susie Parker offers the pros and cons of being her own boss for one year. It’s a great, realistic look at the world of entrepreneurs!
72. Sloppy vs. Disciplined – Leadership Lessons from the Dallas Cowboys and Denver Broncos – Even though I can’t stand either of these teams (and Brian knows this) this a really interesting dissection of sports lessons for the business pro!
Posts that made me super happy
73. Huggable People 10 – Geoff Livingston – Of course it’s always nice to see a friend of yours get kudos, but in this case Geoff was also getting kudos for his work with Yum! Brands and No Kid Hungry. Win win!
74. $100 Million: You’ve come a long way, Razoo: Razoo has helped charities raise over $100 million. If that isn’t social good in a nutshell I’m not sure what is. In this post Geoff Livingston summarizes Razoo’s success.
It’s true a lot of these are SpinSucks #followfriday posts, but happy is happy, right?
75. #FollowFriday: Lindsay Bell – This was the post where it was announced that Lindsay was joining the team at SpinSucks as content director. Lindsay had been looking for a job for awhile and I was SO happy she had landed in such a perfect place!
76. #FollowFriday: Allen Mireles: And THIS is the post where it was announced that Allen Mireles was joining the SpinSucks team as vice president! I asked Gini if she was going to be hiring one of our friends every week. It was awesome!
77. #FollowFriday: Ifdy Perez – And this is a spotlight on Ifdy Perez, my boss at Razoo, where I blog 3 times a month. Ifdy is one of the more awesome people you could ever get to know, as this post delineates quite clearly.
78. Something Old, Something New, Something Blue – Danny Brown marks the birth of little Salem, who I’ve gotten to watch grow up before my very eyes thanks to Facebook!
79. Happy Birthday, Little Browne! Yep, you guessed it. This was the day Samuel Liberty Browne was born!
80. Tell me a story – in which my friend Doug Rice marks one year of being in business.
81. You Four People Are Going Home for the Holidays - Peter Shankman is truly an amazing individual. He donated some of his frequent flier miles so that people could travel home for the holidays. Amazing, huh?
82. The Clarion Call of Collaboration – I was so happy to see my friend Sean McGinnis relaunching 312 Digital, and with a great mission to boot!
83. Hecklers’ Hangout, Featuring Brian Vickery and Margie Clayman - Getting to do Hecklers’ Hangout this year has been SUCH a blast. How else would I have been able to a) Get to talk to so many awesome people b) Fight with Brian, Sam and Jure on a regular basis and c) Learn a lot? This was our introductory post, and it *still* makes me happy
84. 7 Business Lessons From Running My First Marathon – The advice is great, but as a person who trained to run this year, I am SO excited that Laura Click was able to complete an entire marathon. That is darned amazing. I don’t know how she did it along with everything else she does.
Blogs on Blogging
Yes, I refuse to use the phrase “content marketing.”
85. Small Actions, Big Results – in this post, Heidi Cohen offers excellent, concise advice (as usual) that will help you grow your blog.
86. The fleeting title that is “social media expert” – Although not exclusively about blogging, in this post Marcus Sheridan talks about why “experts” in social media come and go. The real game, and where blogs and other social media marketing tactics can help, is building your “playground.” He makes a lot of great points here.
87. The Dark Side of Content Marketing – Tom Webster makes a fantastic point here. We are getting into the habit of rushing to create content before we actually check its accuracy. And sometimes, as we learned this year, the pressure to create content can even lead to plagiarism.
88. Making Your Content Super-Shareable with Share Quote Buttons – When I read this post by Neicole Crepeau I just about exploded because it’s so darned brilliant. The idea and the way she walks you through the idea are not to be missed!
89. Is blogging dead or are companies not trying hard enough? - Earlier this year, there was a story about how corporate blogs were decreasing dramatically in number. Many said that this was a signal that corporate blogging was dying. Gini Dietrich offered an overview of the issue.
90. A is for Analytics: Welcome to Part I of the Blogging Basics Series: Amberr Meadows got her blogging series off to a fantastic start with this post. She is an excellent writer!
Ten Guest Posts I’m Proud Of
I’ve had the privilege of being able to guest post on a lot of sites this year. I thought I would share with you 10 posts I’ve written that I feel pretty good about it.
91. Shining the Spotlight on Molly Cantrell-Kraig – a post I wrote for Razoo. Any chance to write about Molly, let’s face it, is awesome!
92. Agencies: Walk your Talk – a post I got to publish on Jay Baer’s site.
93. Miracle Max Presents 11 Things That Aren’t Quite Dead – I wrote this pretty much for fun, and Gini was nice enough to let me publish it on her SpinSucks site.
94. Lessons in Social Media Marketing from the 1849 gold rush – a post I wrote for the folks at Intervistato.
95. Leadership Lessons from Lincoln (part 5!) - Carol Roth and Catherine Morgan were kind enough to indulge me as I gushed about Abraham Lincoln (for 5 posts) in a business kind of way. They rock
96. Do you read everything you share online? – This stirred quite the conversation over on the LeadersWest blog. Big thanks to Jim who made the headline better!
97. Three New (Productive) Social Media Conversations – a post I wrote for the Social Media Sun.
98. 50 Causes to Support This Holiday Season – another one, fairly recent, that I wrote for Razoo
99. The Great Disconnect Between What You Say and What You Do – inspired by real-life events. A post for leaderswest.
100. Even though it’s not a blog, I was also privileged to be able to a ten-minute “Take Ten” webinar for MarketingProfs earlier this year. The topic – how to get an e-newsletter started.
So there you have it. I’m sure there are millions of great posts that I’ve missed here, but for the most part these are posts that came to mind without prompting. Stream of consciousness, if you will. Please add your favorites of the year so we can share!
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