Mitch Joel Shares How to Navigate a Constantly Changing Blogosphere [EP 37 The Blog Chronicles]

August 6, 2017

Mitch Joel

On this episode of The Blog Chronicles, we talk with a former rock and roll journalist who became a rock star himself in the world of blogging and digital marketing.

Mitch Joel gets calls from Google when they want someone to explain the latest developments in marketing to the top brands in the world.

He’s been at this awhile. Back in 2006, he was named one of the most influential authorities on blog marketing in the world. Mitch is President of Mirum – a global digital marketing agency operating in close to 20 countries with over 2000 employees (although he prefers the title, Media Hacker). He has been called a marketing and communications visionary, interactive expert and community leader.

He is also an author, blogger, podcaster, and passionate speaker who connects with people worldwide by sharing his innovative insights on digital marketing and business transformation. He has been named one of the top 100 online marketers in the world and was awarded the highly prestigious Canada’s Top 40 Under 40.

This was my first time meeting today’s guest, and because he’s so smart in many areas, I asked him questions on several topics related to blogging. So, we kinda bounce around a bit, but as I reviewed this interview, I found that there’s a common thread throughout, and that is how blogging and online business is constantly changing. My guest today is great at helping bloggers make sense of these rapid changes and he inspires us to embrace change, be flexible and to keep growing.

On this podcast, here are some of the things you’ll learn:

–How blogging has changed since 2009

–Does he still think social media platforms will replace blogs?

–What is the “Trust Economy”

–How owning your own platform helps you build trust

–How important is design to a website?

–How Mitch avoid’s the social media distractions we all face

–Will a robot one day become a popular blogger or novelist?

–How blogging has changed his life

–And more

Be sure to leave any questions you may have for Mitch Joel down in the comments. Enjoy this episode!

Mitch Joel Interview Transcript

( For those who like to read.)

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The DNA of business has changed. Forever. You can blame technology, smartphones, social media, online shopping and everything else, but nothing changes this reality: we are in a moment of business purgatory.

So, what are you going to do about it?

Mitch Joel, one of the world’s leading experts in new media, warns that the time has come to CTRL ALT DELETE. To reboot and to start re-building your business model. If you don’t, Joel warns, not only will your company begin to slide backwards, but you may find yourself unemployable within five years.

That’s a very strong warning, but in his new book, CTRL ALT DELETE, Joel explains the convergence of five key movements that have changed business forever. The movements have already taken place, but few businesses have acted on them. He outlines what you need to know to adapt right now. He also points to the seven triggers that will help you take advantage of these game-changing factors to keep you employable as this new world of business unfolds.

Along the way, Joel introduces his novel concept of “squiggle” which explains how you can learn to adapt your personal approach to your career, as new technology becomes the norm.

In short, this is not a book about “change management” but rather a book about “changing both you AND your business model.”


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Matthew Loomis: Hi Mitch.

Welcome to the Show!

Mitch Joel: Hi Matthew.

Thanks for having me!

How Has Opportunity For Internet Business Changed Since You Wrote Your Best Seller – Six Pixels Of Separation?

Matthew Loomis: Mitch, In your popular book – Six Pixels Of Separation –

Which was published in 2009.

You wrote about how the internet was opening up incredible opportunities and that everyone should have their own platform and publish their own thing, you know ”do their own thing.”

Here we are eight years later.

How would you compare the state of blogging today in 2017?

Mitch Joel: Boy, was I ever wrong!

It’s a great question and it’s actually a question that I’ve been spending a lot of time and energy on.

I would say, in particular, the past two years. When I started blogging I would say that there were two things happening in my brain.

One was, I no longer had to deal with editors of magazines which was my previous life in the late 80’s, yeah, late eighties early 90’s and onwards. To saying ”no” to something that I created or wanted to write about.

In particular, I was writing, I was more sort of a written journalist.

So the first thing it did, it allowed that ”gatekeeper” Seth Godin called them to go by.

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So if I fast forward to the world where I’m not writing about Metallica, Bon Jovi and Motley Crue.

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In a world where I’m writing about social media, artificial intelligence, e-commerce…What ever it might be in a Harvard Business review say’s ”I don’t know if you should be really covering this topic metro I don’t really like the wording or the phrasing.”

I can just go – publish button, ”BOOM!” So that’s one sort of major shift that I still think is very much in power today. Image result for Images of someone hitting the publish button

The idea that anybody in text, images, audio, videos short-form or long-form can have an idea or a thought, publish it in that type of format and then publish it to the world potentially ”star, asterisk”  I still think is a very formidable sort of force and the fact that I don’t need permission to do so from an editor or a gatekeeper is a huge part of it.

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The other part of it that I think is, not a negative, but a different way to have a perspective of it is that I also love the fact that, as a writer, when I started Six Pixels Of Separation – Which was originally and still is basically a corporate blog.

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It was this idea that, and now also the publishing platform is mine and then I can get people like Matthew to come and read my blog.

And then as social media percolated and became really really part of our fabric and our culture. I could go on to those places and say ”Hey Matthew, check out my latest article about XYZ click here and come over and read it.”

In the past two years that bigger shift which was the second part of it is that I don’t know if I prescribe to that as much what I would call a hub-and-spoke model blog at Six Pixels being the hub spoke being social media and other channels to connect people.

I now believe it’s a hub and hub model.

What I now find myself doing in terms of one of the biggest changes is I’m actually, what we used to call cross-posting, I’m actually just uniquely posting. So I’ll publish it on my blog, I’ll publish it exactly as is copy and paste into Linkedin, Medium, Facebook Notes, having them post it if they’ll take it or accept it or bounce it back because I published it somewhere else.

And I’m literally building hubs on each of these platforms rather than using the platforms to drive back to the blog. Ergo making the blog somewhat (and I don’t mean it in a derogatory way) but somewhat as a receptacle as you will for all of the content I create.

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What Do You Think the Fear Factor is With People Not Taking Opportunities That the Internet Has to Offer?

Matthew Loomis: Yeah, well we’re definitely going to get a little more into these hubs that you’re talking about.

Now, are you surprised in 2017? (here we are twenty years later.)

It seems like there are still lots of people that don’t understand just what they have at their finger tips with all these awesome opportunities that the internet is providing?

Why do you think some people still don’t see this?

Mitch Joel: We have our own narratives and stories in our head of what works and what doesn’t work.

And I think it’s really hard to move people from what they think works or what is traditionally generated, you know, millions upon billions of dollars of an industry.

People, you know, will say things like ”Advertising doesn’t work.” And it’s half a trillion dollar and growing industry. 

Well, you could say, now growing, it’s marginal, it’s flat. It’s still a half a trillion dollars that probably impacts trillions upon trillions of dollars in the GDP. That’s a narrative.

Is there another way to do that? I believe there are many ways to do it. In content, in publishing, blogging, podcasting, being engaged in social channels is an opportunity.

You can take that opportunity and decide, well there are two billion people plus on Facebook now. And so what we’re going to do is just advertise to them. Or you can just say we’re going to create a piece of content and we’re going to then advertise that we have the content because we need people to come to it.

You’re not going to get attention unless you pay to boost it and there are so many ways that you can think about it. Right?

So for me, it comes more from that spectre of what is the narrative and can you convince anyone in the business to do it?

I feel really fortunate, we started the agency in 2000 and I joined in 2002. It’s not like I had a boss to say ”Well don’t try this blog and that it’s a waste of time.”

I was like, ”look I’ve got to sell the products and services that we offer.” I’m not comfortable getting in a car driving down the highway and pulling over every major corporation and ask them if they need a website or social presence or an app or whatever it might be.

I feel more confident leveraging the tools that I have of publishing or journalism and telling stories at a unique moment in time when not a lot of people were talking about what I sort of call my ”triangle of brands.” How brands connect to consumers and consumers to brands through technology with a focus on marketing.

Now it’s been some what ubiquitous, you know, a decade plus later. So now, what I think my offering which is hard for brands what brands are avoiding it is I went from a unique form of content that became somewhat sort of blue ocean to that bloody red sea to now after years of having a unique voice.

So now it doesn’t matter if the contents sphere is all that unique because others have done it. It’s about how unique my voice became over the time and decade.

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That application for brands is really hard to swallow so it’s not immediate. By this ad, I see if there’s a reaction.

Matthew Loomis: So you can’t sell websites door-to-door?

Mitch Joel: No. You can!

Listen, people can and people make an amazing living doing it.

But it wasn’t who I was.

Matthew Loomis: Oh okay. I was being funny there.


Mitch Joel: I have friends who have started multiple million dollars businesses.

Literally boiler room, calling companies and literally sending them off.

Not this fancy high-end stuff, but for some people, it’s enough to get them by, so…

Matthew Loomis: Right.

Mitch Joel: There is a case for everyone.

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Over Time Has It Become Imperative That a Blogger Should Have Their Own Website?

Matthew Loomis: Yeah. That’s true.

Now, in October of 2015.

You wrote a blog post called – The End Of Blogging? You were speculating out loud that social media platforms might be a better place to share content instead of just posting links to social and trying to drive traffic back to a blog.

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Social Media Examiner – Listen as Mitch Joel and Mark Schaefer discuss the future of blogging. (Link is in THE SHOW NOTES)

Eighteen months later has time proven that to be true, or is it still important for a blogger to own their own website?

Mitch Joel: Well, that’s the hub and hub model we just spoke about.

So there you go, it’s funny…

Look, I write so much that I often don’t remember what I wrote… So even when you start a question like in October 2010, I’m like ”OMG, WHERE’S MY GOOGLE!” I’ve got to find out what he’s talking about I don’t remember.

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Look, I think blogs allow me to be very forgiving, and to change my mind literally moment by moment if I want. Which is something you could never do in this sort of pre-publishing world?

But I do think that that is an amazing opportunity.

I’m finding that hundreds of thousands of people every month starting to follow me. For example on Medium.

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And you know, I think to how much harder or more costly time was and financially to drive someone to Six Pixels versus being where they are, right? And again that format forces…For me, it’s primarily writing and obviously, I do a lot of audio and podcasting.

But on the writing side which is how I usually talk about this stuff, it does, it forces a way to think. And I actually think the content on my blog in the last couple of years has changed dramatically because I know that I’m actually just copying and pasting it into a place like Facebook or Medium or LinkedIn actually as well.

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Where the environment is less forgiving in the sense that people are seeing a lot of stuff at once from a lot of people.

So then again, It’s a bit of a game that forces me as someone that loves to write to think how the content is going to float out in those different markets.

So, I do, I think that model is very viable in fact, I don’t… It used to be like to this day people like a Joe Pulizzi at Content Marketing World.

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Or a Chris Brogan would still say ”No, don’t build on rented land build on owned land.”

Again that’s why I looked at Six Pixels Of Separation as a bit of an anchor or again that receptacle for all my stuff so it is there.

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But I actually spend more of my gardening and energy once those pieces of content are posted again on Medium, Facebook and LinkedIn working within that community.

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Like when people save someone shares a thing to thank them. I just find that that’s sort of… I don’t know the word but it’s like your blog is like this hardcore destination as being out in the world as a lot softer… If you know what I mean?

It’s almost like wet newspaper papier-mache type of stuff. And so I prescribed that… I think by the way if you’re starting off… I think that I have a lot of luck because I started writing and publishing online in 2003. So it’s a lot of years and a lot of road behind me.

If it were a Mitch Joel 2017 Six Pixels Of Separation day one? I can’t even tell you for sure that I would do it on WordPress versus again writing it up and just publishing it on as many platforms as would let me build upon.

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Matthew Loomis: Okay.

So do you just copy and paste like it’s on your blog and then you just paste it into Medium and LinkedIn?

Mitch Joel: Yeah, Medium, LinkedIn and Facebook.

All three.

It’s been a little bit of a test, Facebook Notes I’m on my own page.

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It’s been a bit of a test because I’m curious if someones like ” Man, you’re really annoying!” I don’t share it across. I don’t tweet if from LinkedIn I won’t do that.

And my experience today, this has been going on for over six months has been maybe check mark super successful.

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I have not had one person say it’s annoying that I am seeing. If anything I would say the conversation or the sharing is copying from different people and different formats depending on when they see it and how comfortable they are.

People look at their Facebook feed a lot differently. Their Facebook feed is a lot different from how Medium works and I just feel It’s like a time compression strategy.

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Where I’m hopefully catching the right people at the right time and not annoying anyone else.

I could be wrong, but what I’ve seen I’m not a big analytics guy. I’m more interested in content than looking at how it’s performing. I haven’t had anyone basically come to me and say it’s a bit annoying.

Matthew Loomis: Are you still over on Google+?

Mitch Joel: No I’m not.

And again, that was a platform that… (and I’m a big Google advocate for those who know me and I’m probably their least paid advocate meaning they don’t pay me at all but I love the brand) I tried a little at the time when it was happening. It was just not for me.

So no, I do not publish… I guess I could just drop in and say ”why not?” But I don’t.

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Matthew Loomis: Okay. I was just curious.

Mitch, let’s shift a little bit.

You talk a lot about the Trust Economy. First of all, I was wondering, is that your term for the new hub?

Mitch Joel: No. Not my term.

I did never make it up and I would never lay claim to it.

Matthew Loomis: Oh, okay.

Mitch Joel: Yeah I know.

Look, it’s funny when I said ”Trust Economy” I think of my friends Julien Smith and Chris Brogan who wrote Trust Agents.

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TRUST AGENTS – The New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller–now in a new, updated paperback edition

Today′s online influencers are Web natives who trade in trust, reputation, and relationships, using social media to accrue the influence that builds up or brings down businesses online. In Trust Agents, two social media veterans show you how to tap into the power of social networks to build your brand′s influence, reputation, and, of course, profits.

In this revised paperback version, learn how businesses are using the latest online social tools to build networks of influence and how you can use those networks to positively impact your business. Combining high–level theory and practical actions, this guide delivers actionable steps and case studies that show how social media can positively impact your business.

  • New edition features specific first moves for entering social media for small businesses, educators, travel and hospitality enterprises, nonprofit organizations, and corporations
  • Authors both have a major presence on the social Web as well as years of online marketing and new media experience

If you want your business to succeed, don′t sit on the sidelines while new markets and channels grow. Instead, use the Web to build trust with your consumers using Trust Agents.

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And we did a lot of work together and launching both of our books at the same time. We actually did an event called Building Trust In A Connected World where we gave away a bunch of books if you would fly us down and we would talk and present.

The Trust Economy for me was more of an idea. My own take on it was around more transparency. 

I don’t mean T R A N S P A R E N C Y and the Emporer has no clothes. I meant it in the sense that when digital came out of first web browser to the iteration of early days of social media and online publishing. I felt like it engendered an opportunity for brands to have real interactions between two human beings.

When I say real human beings I don’t mean just customers.

I mean in your organisation, real human beings and they can have real interactions with real human beings who might actually consider or currently buying your product or service.

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I feel like that’s a check mark several years later like it did work out that way.

I think the only mitigating factor is the fact that it became a duopoly of Google and Facebook primarily. And that even over the years if you built a substantive following on, let’s call it Facebook, you still now have to pay for that idea to get to those people who liked and followed you just by the nature of how their economics work.

So I think this idea of trust was salient and was a good direction to go in.

I still very much stand by it as a marketing professional I like ethical, I like that side of it. I just feel like there is a heightened commercial aspect to reaching an audience that we can’t ignore.

Does Owning Your Own Domain Help You Become Transparent and Trustworthy to Your Followers?

Matthew Loomis: So when it comes to owning your own platform and trust.

Do you think having your own website helps to build trust?

Mitch Joel: Of course!

Look, we do live in an era where if someones looking for you, your products, your services, your competitor’s products or services or doesn’t even know if you or your competitor exists. But is just looking for something that solves an issue that they have that that first page of search results is the first impression.

I do believe that first impressions create very strong brand impressions positive negative and neutral.

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Again, it’s somewhat semantic in 2017 to say this but not being present in a digital channel I just don’t know how that’s even a part of being in business. Unless you have a very specific and weird business where whether it’s to not be found or people buy from you.

Which some people have that as their business model and that’s just strange.

Matthew Loomis: But what about Google+?

Mitch Joel: Well, I don’t know why you harp on Google+?

I just think that Google+ is just dead!

I just don’t feel like the audience is there or if it’s a growing platform or that there is an investment from Google?

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That’s it’s something that was that’s been iterated on. I don’t even know what it is. And I am not saying that to be facetious or that I’m on to the next cool thing.

It’s just in my sphere, it never clicked. It didn’t click with the audience that I had written regardless of the number they were touting. I just didn’t see the same uptake that I was seeing on other platforms since then.

Whether you look at an Instagram a Snapchat, Facebook or whatever.

I think that Google has a very powerful social layer of content that we’re now seeing in applications like Google Maps and if you have Android.

No the voice of the assistant and I think there are very powerful components there. I just don’t know as a destination. I don’t know why that’s even part of the vernacular. Clearly was not successful and just never resonated with me.

Matthew Loomis: You’ve also gone onto say…

You’re a big believer in the importance of owning a stellar looking website.

Does this mean a solopreneur or small business should invest as much money as they can into their website?

Mitch Joel: Yeah.

I mean, the world has changed. I think we live in a little bit of a different world.

Now would I use the word ”website” so much as I would say a mobile first experience?

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Would I say design versus think about the fact that people are consuming a higher level of image based content of pictures and videos over other things?

Would I say that any piece of content you create should have social built into it? What do I mean by that? Simply whatever you create should someone like it has the hooks built into them to share and talk about it versus a sort of universal statement about a great web design.

I mean, those statements were made in a world where I don’t remember the proliferation of things like Facebook or mobile or what’s happening in that world.

That being said when I talk about design it’s not just a visual aesthetic, it’s a user experience of speed aesthetic. Perhaps the big thing that we see across the board now is sites that perform faster do better. Sites that you know obviously much more like a Tinder or End or Uber or Instagram experience on a mobile is going to do a lot better than responsive smaller lighter version of your website.

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I believe in that spirit. Image based mobile first social by nature and I say that in full disclosure being, do as I say and not as I do.

I’m lagging dramatically behind in what would be the design of the core blog Six Pixels Of Separation that probably is changing. It’s in production now but that’s partially why I’m also playing the game of Facebook, LinkedIn, Medium because they’ve baked it in. They’ve made those components, whether it’s the image component of it or the mobile component of it or the social component of it.

But they have built and baked it in.

So that’s sort of my narrative on it now. It’s less about just sort of a website. Because even when you say that I sort of shudder a bit and go aaagh, that’s a bit antiquated at this point. Isn’t it?

Matthew Loomis: You mentioned good visuals and a few things there.

Are there any other basics to having a great website in your opinion?

Mitch Joel: Yeah. Clearly, there are.

And I feel like going into a usability design 101 here.

One would be disingenuous because I think there are tonnes of great content out there. I also think the beauty of the sophistication and maturation of the space, simply the fact that we’re moving into more antiquated experiences here.

It’s different for everybody.

It’s different from B2C and different from B2B. Small, medium, large if you’re sort of a solopreneur designer versus you’re trying to sell stuff, you know, Shopify may be the answer for that.

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So I don’t know if there is a sort of core like follow this.

What I love about digital as a platform as an experience, is that everybody’s experience can be very much driven by their own performance indicators and outcomes. So you may be on Facebook and it’s really fun for you to sort of fly around with your friends and do what you want to do.

I might be on Facebook and go ”Here’s my repository for publishing long-form content.” You and I are both not wrong. You know what I mean? We just both have our own ways and our own views of what we want to use each platform for.

So I am NOT the guy to uniformly say ”This is what you should have.”

Matthew Loomis: Right.

Mitch Joel: Clearly though you want it to be a great experience on a smaller screen.

Clearly, you want it to be findable.

Clearly, you want to be using a good linking strategy. Clearly, you want to be as succinct and as unique as possible.

That to me is what makes things work!

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And it’s like 101 stuff.

Do You Prioritise Your Followers On Your Facebook Platform?

Matthew Loomis: That’s a good point about Facebook.

I’m just curious, do you organise the people on your Facebook account in groups and just target them?

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Mitch Joel: No.


Matthew Loomis: No?


Mitch Joel: Again, I live in the do as I say not as I do world.

Where I feel that people have an expectation and anticipation of me because of my experience in running digital marketing agencies.

And having success in being somebody who creates content and then publishes it. Those two aren’t always necessarily always interconnected as strategy skills. Right?

The creation of content drives a lot of attention, which is great. It occasionally makes someone say ”Oh we should call that Mirum company for our digital marketing.

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Which is also great!

But they are not connected in terms of what I would say to somebody trying to build this on their own. I just wouldn’t because I write and publish and even, liking, commenting, adding, sharing, promoting… You know my buddy James Altucher says you spend five hours promoting for every one hour of content you create.

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It’s just the machine that I am. (Not that I am a machine) But it’s the machine that I built for my content production where I would rather just write something brand-new right now. That like, share, follow package.

So the answer is yes!

Use the tools as well as you can to build your audience in the best way possible. And they exist, don’t follow what I do because they don’t do it well. It’s probably a mistake I mean, my friends want to kill me. I don’t even have a database and after all these years I should probably have hundreds of thousands of people, and they’re right.

I’m dumb. I know it.

I would never recommend doing it this way. But think of me more as a sort of person who’s using the platform to publish his thinking versus somebody who’s using a platform to build a commercialised audience.

Matthew Loomis: This is a good question to follow up with…

Mitch Joel: We’ll find out if that’s true or not.

Go ahead.

Matthew Loomis: You have lots of positive things to say about social media on your blog.

Yet, you caution people to not let the internet devour you. And you said on page 158 of your book Six Pixels Of Separation.

Quote – ”Be curious about everything but ruthless in what you get involved with.” Unquote.

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Is it important to be connected? Well, consider this: If Facebook were a country, it would have the sixth largest population in the world. 

The truth is, we no longer live in a world of six degrees of separation. In fact, we’re now down to only six pixels of separation, which changes everything we know about doing business.

This is the first book to integrate digital marketing, social media, personal branding, and entrepreneurship in a clear, entertaining, and instructive manner that everyone can understand and apply. 

Through the use of timely case studies and fascinating stories, SIX PIXELS OF SEPARATION offers a complete set of the latest tactics, insights, and tools that will empower you to reach a global audience and consumer base-and, best yet, you can do this pretty much for free. Digital marketing expert Mitch Joel unravels this fascinating world of new media-but does so with a brand-new perspective that is driven by compelling results. The smarter entrepreneurs and top executives are leveraging these digital channels to get their voice “out there”-connecting with others, becoming better community citizens, and, ultimately, making strategic business moves that are increasing revenue, awareness, and overall success in the marketplace-without the support of traditional mass media.

Everyone is connected. Isn’t it time for you and your company to connect to everyone? SIX PIXELS OF SEPARATION will show you how. 

In this age of distraction. How does Mitch Joel avoid the social media distractions and stay productive while still using social media and the internet to promote his business?

Mitch Joel: I’ve talked and published about this countless times.

It’s pretty simple.

I have no notifications anywhere. ZERO. (That’s not true.)

I have ONE notification and that’s a specialised one for my spouse.

Social media and checking stuff out is a proactive choice that I make. Not reactive. To a ping, beep, vibration, tone, a pop.

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So that’s strategy number one. And I bucket that under ”I’m going to manage my technology and not let technology manage me.”

Your phone is beeping and doing all of that because that’s its default.

Its default can be changed, its a choice.

Matthew Loomis: Right.

Mitch Joel: Two.

Two is, I prefer to spend my time with long-form content.

That doesn’t mean a big article in The Guardian. It means primarily non-fiction books. So I’m not gathering necessarily inspiration or leads from that constant stream of links, headlines and feeds and things like that. I’m sort of connecting disparate pieces of information.

The content that I do spend time with digitally I spend very little with. I acknowledge and recognise the fact that work is primarily skimming.

It’s been created for somebody to get attention to feed them and to add to not necessarily have that much substance beneath it. That being said, because of the nature of my network in the years that I’ve been doing this. I am often fed stuff from friends and people who I trust that I will obviously save.

That’s why I’m probably the biggest fan of Pocket as an application I think it’s absolutely amazing.

Matthew Loomis: Pocket?

Mitch Joel: Yeah.

It’s a great app.

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It allows you to save everything and then tag it. You can read a review offline. You can sort it and organise it so if I see an idea for a slide, a book idea, an article. I can just tag it. Slide, book or whatever and it’s cloud based so it works everywhere. On my computer. On my phone, on my tablet.

It’s just across the board great.

So I use tools that sort of almost help me avoid it. Now, that all sounds grandiose, there is no doubt that I’m sucked into the Facebook vortex or Twitter vortex or the …. vortex like anyone else. Or the YouTube vortex for sure as well.

But I have to be able to acknowledge where am I learning and growing and what’s just entertaining.

And again the mind is a simple thing it just wants to be entertained. But I just watch my diet just like you would on your food consumption or your exercise.

Matthew Loomis: Yeah. That’s GOOD stuff!

I’m going to go back to your first book again.

Because that’s the book I read, sorry 🙂

Mitch Joel: You should really move forward.

From some of those written in 2013.

Matthew Loomis: I know.

Mitch Joel: Actually I think it was earlier than that.

Yeah, it was probably earlier than that.

What Other Books Have You Written?

Matthew Loomis: I need to read – Control Alt Delete.

Ctrl Alt Delete: Reboot Your Business. Reboot Your Life. Your Future Depends on It.

Ctrl Alt Delete: Reboot Your Business. Reboot Your Life. Your Future Depends on It.

The DNA of business has changed. Forever. You can blame technology, smartphones, social media, online shopping and everything else, but nothing changes this reality: we are in a moment of business purgatory. 

So, what are you going to do about it? 

Mitch Joel, one of the world’s leading experts in new media, warns that the time has come to CTRL ALT DELETE. To reboot and to start re-building your business model. If you don’t, Joel warns, not only will your company begin to slide backwards, but you may find yourself unemployable within five years. 

That’s a very strong warning, but in his new book, CTRL ALT DELETE, Joel explains the convergence of five key movements that have changed business forever. The movements have already taken place, but few businesses have acted on them. He outlines what you need to know to adapt right now. He also points to the seven triggers that will help you take advantage of these game-changing factors to keep you employable as this new world of business unfolds. 

Along the way, Joel introduces his novel concept of “squiggle” which explains how you can learn to adapt your personal approach to your career, as new technology becomes the norm. 

In short, this is not a book about “change management” but rather a book about “changing both you AND your business model.”

What are some of the others, are there any other books besides those two?

Mitch Joel: No.

No, what I tell people is that I spend a lot of my energy publishing constantly.

So you know people … me, and it’s hard and you know, it’s a big world and it’s a small world. When I was writing Six Pixels Of Separation, I was writing uncontrollably, I didn’t miss a day of blogging fresh new content.

And that hasn’t stopped since then.

So to me publishing a book is more about there is something bigger here around the theme that I need to explore more and much more in-depth.

So I liken book writing to getting pregnant and then having to deliver the baby. Even though I have never personally experienced that. So for me, the book happens when the water breaks.

So to be more visual, my water hasn’t broken for the third book yet and I feel that as I’m writing I’m experiencing one or more of the conversations and I feel ideas coming together.

I see things and I can feel it percolating now but I definitely don’t do it because I respect the medium of writing a book so much.

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I don’t want to be one of those people that are tossing something out every year or so. Even if it’s not one hundred percent of quality.

And may be I’m stupid for that and I’m fine I’m okay taking lumps on that.

Matthew Loomis: I’m looking forward to your next book.

I thought it would be interesting to kind of go back and compare 2017 to then.

And that’s what I want to do here on this part – You had a list of six online tools that you should be using right now in Chapter Two and I just want to go through them.

I’d like for you to let us know if there is anything that should be replaced or changed or updated?

Mitch Joel: I don’t even remember, but go on.

Matthew Loomis: Okay, well.

Number one was the RSS Reader.

Is that still relevant today?

Mitch Joel: It’s funny.

My buddy Chris Brogan, recently started talking about how great RSS Readers are in this day and age of fake news and not knowing where sources come from.

I candidly reignite it on a tool called Feedly which I think is the one that most people use now to just curate what I consider to be more legitimate news sources. So that if something popped up in the media, I could see multiple variances across both left, right and hopefully nonpartisan experiences to see how closely those stories go from trusted sources.

So I think from that side RSS Reading has become for me a bit of a renaissance if you will. For the average consumer, it’s completely dead. You know, that idea of you have this reader, you go and you put on all the blogs you like. I think that if you’re from that era and you’re stuck on it, it’s fantastic.

It’s great, But in this world of Twitter and Facebook and the feed being the feed. You know the feed is now everywhere so yeah, I think Facebooks feed, Instagrams feed, Mediums feed has definitely replaced the RSS feed these days.

Image result for Images of RSS LOGO

Matthew Loomis: Yeah. That’s so true.

What about alerts?

Mitch Joel: Still love them. Still, use them.

Image result for Images of Alerts LOGO

I don’t know them, but I do know that if you use any form of social media monitoring or listening tools, the sophistication of them (because you can pay for them now and should pay for them now) is much better than the sort of standard free Google Alerts.

But I still get a lot of Google Alerts I still enjoy it. It’s not perfect for sure and the paid ones, fortunately, I have access to because we have an agency here are obviously much more robust and powerful but I think Alerts are still critical to listening for sure.

You can’t see everything. You can’t know that everything is out there.

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Before we go I should mention the book -Six Pixels came out in 2009 so eight years ago. And again I think it’s about a year and a half ago, so I actually wrote this thing probably over ten years ago. Just to sort of set the pace here but keep going.

Matthew Loomis: Right.

What about Watch Lists like Technorati?

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Mitch Joel: Well, Technorati, definitely not.

I mean, it’s not really around Watch Lists was really a way in which you could see which blogs were gaining speed and propensity and I believe that that just being replaced by Facebook pages, LinkedIn pages and things like that.

Image result for Images for Facebook pages and Linkedin pages logo

So pages within the network still have value. Right? So I can still go to your Facebook page and pretty much without having a level of sophistication figure out, is this guy legit or is he struggling to build an audience?

Gary Vaynerchuk also. You can claim to have a hundred thousand fans on Instagram, but we know you bought them if only twenty-seven people liked that picture. Right? So that sort of model.

Image result for Images of Gary Vaynerchuk

It does exist. Where I feel again like what was once a centralised place for people to see how legitimate a blog source was for incoming and out bound links and other tools. I feel like we just got more sophisticated.

We can high ball an Instagram account and know if this person is legit or not.

Matthew Loomis: Very good.

Number four was Google Blog Search, is it still around?

Image result for Images for Google Blogs logo


Mitch Joel: I don’t think so.

May be some one’s going ”Yeah, of course, it is you, idiot!”

Google News? I mean Google News sucked it all in.

Image result for Images for Google news logo

If there is anything I want to know about current… Let’s call it a brand – Pepsi. I don’t just Google Pepsi. I go into Google Pepsi but then click on the news where I could see the latest feed.

Image result for Images for Pepsi logo

I would say that Google News is probably the closest thing to replacing a blog search tool. But again, you could look at other social media listing tools that I am sure to have very sophisticated blog searching capabilities in there. And there are a lot of Plugins too.

Image result for Images for Firefox logo

I think there are tools. That’s true, probably browser extensions Google Chrome and the like Firefox that have the ability to probably have a lot of information off of pages you are looking at.

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Matthew Loomis: Okay.

Number five, I’m sure you’ll agree there are still quite relevant today, and that’s Search Engines.

Mitch Joel: Yeah search is everything.

I think we’ve seen a diversification of search engines.

If you look you’ll see YouTube being the second largest search engine in the world.

Image result for Images for YouTube search logo

If you look and you think about anything commercial you want to buy people don’t go into Google. They’ll go directly to Amazon and use Amazon’s search there.

Image result for Images for Amazonsearch logo

If you look at voice. If you look at what’s happening with things like Siri.

Image result for Images for Siri search logo

Or Alexa or Cortana, searching by voice…

So I mean yeah, there is no limit, just look at the overall revenue of Google. Search is still a very powerful engine.

Matthew Loomis: Right.

And number six was Google trends. I know that is still around.

Do you use it?

Image result for Images for Google trends logo

Mitch Joel: No. I don’t.

But again, the ability to use social tools to capture trends? I mean it’s funny a lot of these things were very much commercialised and then packaged together.

And you can look at all of these amazing tools that I don’t want to name them but they are all out there just do a quick search.

That they are based on probably these six tools that have been integrated into much more powerful sophisticated listening tools, for sure.

Matthew Loomis: Okay!

Now I’m going to go to one of your former articles again.

But this one was in 2015 so it wasn’t too far ago…

Mitch Joel: You’re retro-ing it up with me here Matthew!

I love it!!! We’re going RETRO with Matthew. That’s GREAT!!!

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Matthew Loomis: Yeah, this was a great one. In 2015 you wrote on your blog (no sorry, you have a column on your website.)

It’s called – Automated Creativity is Inevitable (And A Good Idea) – Strategy Magazine Column

Mitch Joel: That’s actually branded.

That’s not 2015 that was literally 2017. That was my latest column for Strategy Magazine where I’ve been writing probably my second column for the month.

Matthew Loomis: That’s right. Yes!

Mitch Joel: That’s brand new. That’s literally… Ahhh, now we’ve just jumped into modern times this is very exciting!

Yes. Obviously I believe, literally, I just wrote it… So yes I do think…Look the crux of the matter was I have a lot of private Facebook groups.

I get a chance to get up on stage to speak to a lot of people.

Image result for Images of Mitch Joel

And one area that I have a lot of excitement around is obviously where we are going with Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence and there is a narrative that we want to place.

The only thing left for human beings will be our creativity.

In the end, the robots will do the rest and the Algorhythms will do the rest.

Image result for Images of Building trust in a connected world mitch joel

I wonder what makes us so smart to say that AI is going to come in and it’s going to stop at creativity? And we already see an example, now where Artificial Intelligence is writing things like articles and well-known newspapers.

It is doing things like beating the most sophisticated poker players.

Image result for Images for A robot playing poker

It has already written scores for movies that sound fantastic and on and on…

And it’s early days and I cautioned everybody that I’ve seen people who’ve said ”Why would I ever have to do anything but speak on a phone” ”I don’t know how to type with my thumbs” ”I could never type without a keyboard” ”I need to type on glass now”… I could just go through the litany of my life that I had in watching the evolution of technology.

And I think it would be silly for us to sit here and think that a technology that’s able to drive us better than any human can in a car will stop at the notion of creativity.

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And that it will not be able to take billions of billions of inputs and come up with something that would emotionally move a human being.

I don’t know I think we are just giving ourselves too much credit.

Matthew Loomis: It’s a fascinating topic.

And I want to put it in a blog context.

Are you saying that there could be one day a robot that’s a popular blogger?

Image result for Images for A robot Blogger

Mitch Joel: I believe there are currently blog posts that are written by nonhumans.

That does quite well in the marketplace.

I would love to believe that, yes that is an inevitability as Kevin Kelly would call it. I believe it is.

Image result for Images for Kevin Kelly

That being said I don’t know and even if that were the case and were able to out game me, get more links, get more likes, get more followers, get more shares if that would stop me from being creative. Can it be that I might go into a Voice Navigated System and say ”Look at what happened with this Pepsi ad and the Resistance.” ”Look at what’s happening over here at Amazon.”

And look at this look at all the stuff I’ve ever created and pulled together eight hundred words for me that the system wouldn’t be able to that. I don’t know if I could ever say that, that’s never going to happen.

Matthew Loomis: Alright. It’s going to be really interesting.

How soon do you see this happening?

Mitch Joel: So I mentioned Kevin Kelly.

Kevin Kelly wrote this book called – The Inevitable

The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future

The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future

From one of our leading technology thinkers and writers, a guide through the twelve technological imperatives that will shape the next thirty years and transform our lives

Much of what will happen in the next thirty years is inevitable, driven by technological trends that are already in motion. In this fascinating, provocative new book, Kevin Kelly provides an optimistic road map for the future, showing how the coming changes in our lives—from virtual reality in the home to an on-demand economy to artificial intelligence embedded in everything we manufacture—can be understood as the result of a few long-term, accelerating forces. Kelly both describes these deep trends— flowing, screening, accessing, sharing, filtering, remixing, tracking, and questioning — and demonstrates how they overlap and are co-dependent on one another. These larger forces will completely revolutionize the way we buy, work, learn, and communicate with each other. By understanding and embracing them, says Kelly, it will be easier for us to remain on top of the coming wave of changes and to arrange our day-to-day relationships with technology in ways that bring forth maximum benefits.

Kelly’s bright, hopeful book will be indispensable to anyone who seeks guidance on where their business, industry, or life is heading—what to invent, where to work, in what to invest, how to better reach customers, and what to begin to put into place—as this new world emerges.

He’s written many books. He’s a great writer. So when the co-founders of Wired Magazine, you know when we use the word FUTURIST I think it’s tossed around a lot Kevin Kelly is a Futurist and if you read his books you’ll see why.

I had Kevin on my podcast – Six Pixels Of Separation – a while back when he released that book – The Inevitable. And we were talking about that and as I kept pushing him ”Well how long, how long?” And he said to me technology happens very slowly and then all at once.

So that’s my answer to your question.

I’ll steal Kevin Kelly’s line and say ”Technology happens very very slowly and then all at once.” That’s how long.

Mitch, Can You Tell Us What Impact Blogging Has Had On Your Life?

Matthew Loomis: That’s a great answer!

It leads your imagination to wonder exactly what that means…. But yeah, I like that.

Mitch before we wrap up.

I want to ask you this. Something I ask all my guests and that is how has blogging changed your life?

Mitch Joel: Ahhhhh….

It’s not blogging, it’s just writing!

Image result for Images of Mitch Joel writing

Writing is my life and the fact that I can speak to market so much better with blogging gives me a lot of adrenaline and a lot of wheels turning in my brain.

I really am that guy sort of twirling my moustache a little bit going ”Whooo, what’s it going to be today?” And sometimes the well can be quite dry and I’m not sure where it’s going to go.

And there are other are other days where I wish I had more hours.

There are actually six things that I’d like to bring out into the world. That’s thinking wise. Physically, it’s like an exhaust valve for me. I feel like at the end of the day or early morning or in a moment of the day it’s ”SSSSSSssssssssssss………” It just lets me release some sort of tension that comes into my fingers that go onto the keyboard that I can then just go PUBLISH and I’m done with this.

And that analogy is very much reminiscent of I used to read a lot about Bruce Lee.

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And apparently, Bruce Lee would write these long sort of things and then light them on fire and gone forever and you sort of go ”Noooooo…. Bruce don’t do that!” And I would love to read his writing. But blogging almost feels a little bit like that.

When he lights it on fire. I hit publish. 

And it’s very different because mine is actually been seen and then been judged by an audience and an environment. But I’m okay with that. The reason why I consider myself a failure in social media is that I never did engage a lot in the comments and all that.

And it wasn’t that I’m not a likeable personable accessible human being. Or I don’t care or that I wanted to give someone a digital high five for reading my stuff. All that is totally true.

I just felt like I sort of said what I wanted to say and I left the space underneath it for everybody else to say something.

Matthew Loomis: Right.

Mitch Joel: And sort of  going ”Yeah!”

It’s sort of like me taking over their thought and even when they’re being provocative or trying to push my buttons or be a bit Trollish. I was like ”Say what you want to say.” ”What do you need me to tell you thank you?” Like ”yeah you’re a big boy or a big girl!” You don’t need that in life.

And that was to my fault and probably still is to this day. But it ties back into sort of how I just see the experience. All of that is what it’s given me and brought me.

I mean I just really love… I don’t know how else to say it. It’s not blogging…. I just like writing. And I feel very fortunate that I can hit that publish button and have access and because of that, I respect it and I don’t just want to publish anything.

So I really do think and spend a lot of energy on it. That can be frustrating because other people don’t. They just sort of publish anything for links, clicks, likes and shares.

I’m a victim of that. Right? My success is a victim of all that stuff but I respect that. The same as writing a book like I said really candidly I could have written a whole bunch of books based on the content that I output.

I just don’t feel like there is a book there yet.

Matthew Loomis: Great!

So do you call yourself or do you consider yourself a blogger?

I’m just curious.

Mitch Joel: Ummm….

I struggle with all that stuff.

Titles and…. I wouldn’t tell someone I’m a blogger, I’m a writer, I would say.

Matthew Loomis: A writer?


Mitch Joel: Even that.

Like I feel ”Oh I’m a writer… I’m an author… I’m a publisher…?

You know, I tell people I’m in marketing. I tell people that I’m the President of an agency and when we dig deeper I’ll say ”I write a lot about the topic, I speak a lot about the topic.”

But I’m not like… I’ve always struggled with that. And then I have friends who are very successful with helping people figure out  like ”What’s your six words?” Or ”What’s your elevator pitch?”

I don’t know if it’s my Canadianess and always wanting to be apologetic.

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And saying sorry and stuff like that but I’m just not… You know, I have many faults. One of them would be my lack of… Sort of brutal self-promotion. So I cringe when people say ”What do you do?” I get very… I much prefer someone else to introduce me

Matthew Loomis: Yeah, I was just curious because I have seen some CEO’S that will call themselves a blogger.

Mitch Joel: I mean, other people do.

If I’m introduced to some speaker and he’ll say he’s got a very successful blog. And I just find that it’s strange, like what is a blog now? I just tell people I write, I publish articles.

Some of them are online some of them are physical, some of them are more of in a Bloggie type way. I don’t know.

Where Can My Readers Subscribe To Your Podcast?

Matthew Loomis: Awesome!

Well, Mitch Joel, speaking of your content before you go.

Tell us a little bit about your podcast and the name of it and where we can subscribe.

Mitch Joel: Well, I’ve got a bunch of podcasts.

The main one that you’re talking about is – Six Pixels Of Separation – You’ll see a link to the podcast that’s on iTunes. I do a weekly Show that’s very in-depth, long-form conversation.

I’ve done over five hundred and sixty of them without missing a weekend so you can do the math. It’s over ten years of doing it.

I love doing it!

I started doing a similar Show where I’m trying to have the same types of long-form conversations with bass players over at No Treble Dot Com Forward Slash Groove It’s called Groove The Notreble Podcast where I’m very slowly (It’s a monthly Show.) Trying to build the largest history of bass players in the world.

I’m having a lot of fun with that!

And then I’ve got my two buddies from my Metal days.

Image result for Images of Metallica's bass player

Mark Strigl and Mitch Lafon and we do a Show called Metal Wraps.

And you can find it just by Googling it. I mean that’s real, it’s much more random where we spend fifteen twenty minutes just talking about what’s going on in Metal.

I love the format. I just love sort of sharing audio, so that’s my little joy there.

Matthew Loomis: Okay.

And if you’re listening today, everything you want to know, all the links are in  The Show Notes. 

So, Mitch, this has been fascinating. Thank you so much for coming on The Blog Chronicles today!

Mitch Joel: My pleasure.

Thanks for having me!

The Show Notes

Image result for images of a envelope icon [email protected]

Image result for images of a phone icon +1 514-987-9992

Mitch Joel – Twist Image 

Mitch Joel – Mirum Agency

Mitch Joel – Six Pixels Of Separation – About Mitch Joel

Mitch Joel – Six Pixels Of Separation – The Blog

Mitch Joel – Six Pixels Of Separation – The Book – GoodReads

Mitch Joel – Ctrl Alt Delete – GoodReads

Mitch Joel – The End Of Blogging? – October 14, 2015, Blog Post

Talking Metal Digital – Metal Wraps – Podcast

Mitch Joel – Strategy Magazine Column – Automated Creativity Is Inevitable (And A Good Idea)

Mitch Joel – Strategy Online

Image result for Image of twitter IconMitch Joel – Twitter

Image result for Image of Facebook Icon Mitch Joel – Facebook

Is Blogging Dead? – Social Media Examiner January 1, 2016 – Listen as Mark Schaefer and Mitch Joel discuss the future of blogging

Seth Godin 

Joe Pulizzi 

Chris Brogan – How Chris Brogan Built His Content Platform – Rainmaker.FM

Julien Smith and Chris Brogan – Trust Agents Review By Gemma Thompson – YouTube

Mark Schaefer – Business Grow 

Shopify – E-commerce Software

James Altucher – The James Altucher Show – Podcast

Pocket – When You Find Something You Want To View Later

Feedly – Welcome

Sproutsocial – Social Listening Tools – For Businesses and Marketers


Gary Vaynerchuk

Big Think

Kevin Kelly – 12 Inevitable Tech Forces That Will Shape Our Future | SXSW Interactive 2016 – YouTube

Kevin Kelly – The Inevitable – GoodReads

Mitch Joel – Six Pixels Of Separation – Blog – Tagged ”Kevin Kelly”

Mitch Joel – Six Pixels Of Separation – Podcast – Kevin Kelly – The Promise And Future Of Technology




Image result for Images of Matthew Loomis

I’ll see you next time!

Matthew Kaboomis Loomis is the owner of Build Your Own Blog. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.


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  1. Adam says:    •   2 years

    Very interesting read Mitch and Matthew! Matthew, are you going to start copy and pasting articles from your blog onto your Facebook page like Mitch?

    I’d be willing to try it. Never heard of anyone doing that. Facebook Notes do look really attractive for sure. Facebook really invested in that in recent years.

    Mitch, what are the paid alternatives to Google Alerts that you recommend?

    1. Matthew Loomis says:    •   2 years Author

      Hi Adam,

      I will sometimes paste the first few paragraphs of my post into my Facebook post. I don’t think I’ve ever posted an entire article in a Facebook post, though…funny thing is, I don’t see a clear winner when it comes to Facebook post length. Sometimes short works well, while other times longer posts are effective. And vice versa. 🙂

      If Mitch is posting full articles into Facebook, we probably should be, too. 🙂 Or at least test it.

  2. Adam Morgan says:    •   2 years


    I’m curious to hear what Mitch says. Let’s me and you test this and see what kind of results we get. I do want to point out that you are saying Facebook “posts”, but Mitch is saying Facebook “notes”. When you go to make a Facebook post on your page, there’s a button that says “Write a note”. I believe this is what he’s talking about.

    I checked out all of the links for Mitch on Facebook and there was only 1 page of his where he used the Notes option and it was only used 3 times ever, back in 2009. If this is effective, why doesn’t he do it more?

    1. Matthew Loomis says:    •   2 years Author

      Yeah, that’s right. My bad. Mitch was talking about FB Notes…yeah, let’s start doing that and see what happens. In fact, I’ll do one right now. 🙂

      It’s possible he cleaned out some Notes. I don’t know.

  3. Jane says:    •   2 years

    Thank you for the interview and information. Look forward to your next podcast.