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NASA’s confirmed 2012 won’t be a disaster, but that doesn’t mean bad things won’t happen.  Things like being out of the loop on 2011′s top social media stories, technologies that waste your time instead of giving it back to you, and missing out on ways to help yourself, your team and your community.  Here are 50 ways to get ready for the new year.

 

Catch Up on the Most Important Stuff You Missed

1. 2011 started with a bang in December 2010 when digital media graced the cover of Harvard Business Review.  Here is that piece, plus five others from HBR this year that helped turn the c-suite social (Social strategyStrategy categoriesSocial & salesViral productsExecutive attitudes towards social)

2. Most viewed TEDs in 2011.

3. Most Reddited “social media” post of 2011.

4. Most dug social media stories at Digg.

5. The best, free and briefest Scribd docs on social media.

6. Still haven’t read Technorati’s 2011 State of the Blogosphere?  Read it now and you’ll see the shifts clearly when 2012′s report comes out.

7. Sync the Kindle, load up your 2011 social media books and read through the “most popular highlights” to learn what other people found useful.

8. Pew Internet puts out a ton of stuff.  Here are the 2011 reports most likely to be of interest (Who uses social2nd Who uses socialWhy we use socialTwitterMobile Social). And if you missed Pew’s 2011 State of the Media, well, read that too.

9. Read Jim Stern’s book on social media analytics.  Hands down, the best on the topic.

10. And of course, Mashable’s top stories of 2011.

 

Get Context 

11. It’s 2012, so how many years have certain social media channels been mainstream?  Blogs: 7; Wikipedia: 7; Google: 6; Digg: 6; YouTube: 5; Facebook: 4; LinkedIn: 4; Twitter: 3; Scribd: 3; Tumblr: 2; Foursquare: 2; Yelp: 2; Reddit: 2; Slideshare: 2; Quora: 1.  Here’s a chart showing the public’s interest in all of ‘em.

12. Is your profession on the upswing or downswing?  Google Trend it. For example, here’s Public Relations v. Social Media

13. The next time someone tells you a social media person is a “genius,” think about this guy or that guy or Charles Babbage. (More ideas welcome!)

14. As you’re reviewing this year’s social media metrics, don’t forget that they reflecting both an unprecedented tool adoption boom and the worst economy in 70 years.  We won’t know how those factors have skewed the numbers for years, but it’s a reasonable bet to say they’re skewed.

 

Save Time in 2012 

15. Go through email attachments and pluck out best stuff. Create a folder called “wheels” as in, “don’t reinvent.”

16. Search “PPT.” Start deleting. Doesn’t that feel nice?

17. Sync your office, home and mobile apps. I recommend Chrome’s sync feature.

18. It’s December 24th and your stuck at the office.  Time to scan in that stack of business cards.  I recommend the Business Card Reader app.

19. Stop taking the extra step of visiting Klout.com to look up someone’s score. Install the Klout plugin for Chrome and it’ll embed the number automatically.  This saves me hours of time/year.

20. Delete the LinkedIn Contacts (howto) that aren’t adding value.  Remember, the more fine-tuned your network is, the better filter it will be for your LinkedIn Today.

21. Leave those LinkedIn Groups that you don’t participate in and keep clogging your inbox with updates (howto)

22. Setting up a social media training program?  Use the phenomenal resource Laurel Hart has set up: a delicious stack of social media syllabi!

 

Protect Yourself in 2012

23. All that online socializing has left a bacterial mess on your desk. For Pete’s sake, clean it.

24. If you haven’t gone full cloud, buy an encrypted USB stick (10 reviews). Don’t let 2012 become a data disaster.

25. You might be using new social networks in 2012.  Claim them with your handle now.  Namechk lets you search 159 simultaneously.

26. Back up your social media channels.

27. Update privacy settings on all your social networks.

28. Change your passwords.

 

Open Yourself Up to New Stuff

29. You’re probably in a Twitter rut.  Delete the people whose topics you’ve moved on from.  Find new ones. Klout’s categorization of influential people by topic is quite good.

 

Help Someone

30. Write a really nice thank you email to the blogger that gave you the most in 2011. It’ll give them the fuel to keep going for another year.

31. Become an organ donor. THAT’s sharing.

 

Time for a Terminology Check-Up

32. Zuckerberg’s Law

23. Social Graph

34. Let’s

35. XFN

36. Ushahidi

37. Early Warning System – Let’s stop calling social media monitoring an “early warning system,” as if what happens on it is less real and has less impact on the bottom line than when bad news hits the broadsheets.

 

Help your social media team/department

38. Install Google Toolbar which shows the PageRank of every page visited. Helps get people acclimated to SEO.

39. Take your IT people out to lunch. You owe them for 2011 and will need them even more in 2012.

40. Did your CFO take you to lunch?  If nor, read this.

41. Something’s not working in your social media program. Cut its funds and put half into an experimental bucket and half into something that IS working.  Proudly tell someone you conducted an experiment, confirmed a hypothesis, learned something and are now using that new information.

42.Between Google trends, keyword tools and blog citations, there’s enough data to tell you which thought leadership ideas are working.  Run the numbers and make the call.

43. Ask your online communities what the company did well on, where it failed and how it can do better.

 

Personal Brand Upgrades

44. Update your profile photo.

45. Update your email signature with your social networks.

46. Add Amazon’s Reading List application to your to LinkedIn Profile.  Tell your network what books are worth reading and save lots of people lots of time.

47. Have you changed what you tweeted about over the year?  Update your keyword entry on WeFollow.com.

 

Protect Your Company

48. Stress test your digital crisis plan. Burson (disclosure: my employer) put out a study this year that found 65% of companies say new media makes crises more difficult to manage. And check it: 55% say digital also makes it easier to recover.

 

Re-Read Cuz They’re Super Important

49. Cluetrain Manifesto’s 95 Thesis

50. Creative Commons (3-minute video)

 

What are YOU doing to get ready for 2012? 

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