Tracing Ancestors Through DNA

I have always been a big believer in ‘eating your own dog food’ and knowing the products you represent inside, and out.

I have been ‘consuming’ the trees product for years now, so I thought I would try the AncestryDNA test that combines DNA science with our online family history resource to predict genetic ethnicity to hopefully, help me discover new family connections.


The AncestryDNA test analyzes your entire genome—all 23 pairs of chromosomes—and using autosomal testing, surveys over 700,000 locations in your DNA. We currently use samples from 22 different ethnic regions around the world that should provide information on where my ancestors came from, 100s or even 1000s of years ago.

The test is super easy, just spit into the tube, mail it away and wait for the results to show up online. I should have the results back in 4-6 weeks and will post an update once they are available.

Who knows, I may finally confirm—or debunk—that whole Castilian heritage thing.

I’ve got more Klout. Or do I?

Klout Influence Score Analysis

They must have just tweaked their algorithm as my ‘influence score’ just jumped from 32 to 55 in under 24 hours. I did nothing spectacular to warrant such an increase, so they must be fine tuning things behind the scenes.

There is a lot of chatter on the web questioning the validity of the Klout score, but I am saving judgement . I want to watch the number for a while and see if I can find trends the dips and peaks. Right now, it makes no damn sense.

Interview: Dave Navarro at AVN Awards

Spoke with Dave Navarro on the red carpet of the AVN Awards in Las Vegas and asked his thoughts on using social media tools, like Twitter, to better connect with his community.

He offers a bit of advice if using these services to get a date, and says you should know that not all avatars are current (or real). Because of this, meet for coffee first to check them out in real life BEFORE you give them your home address. LOL

Good advice Dave. Whether it is Twitter, (where I met my Heuer), eHarmony, whatever…coffee is always a good first step.

Back up? What back up?

Got a little surprise a while back when I realized the daily auto backup feature on our Time Machine had stopped backing my laptop up. Don’t know when it happened, or why, only that it did. Of course, I discover this little fact when I needed the back up most. You know, that time when your laptop waves a white flag, shuts down as you were in the middle of something and leaves you sitting there thinking of all the data you are losing…gah.

Thankfully, the bastard MacBook has rebooted and come back to life each time – but it is obvious something is wrong and I need to go see a Mac genius about it. Today, smarty pants me figured it would be wise to force a backup so I could begin this problem solving business and so here I sit – pounding away on the PC – as we wait for the backup to finish.

Time Machine Backup

Funny/sad thing is I took the screen shot above this morning about an hour into the back up. It is now seven (7) hours later and it backed up 15.01GB of 70.8GB worth of data. It is going to be a long night…

Time Machine Backup: 7 hours later

Requesting the end of Twitter Auto DMs

This is a post I have been trying to write for months. Typical me wanted to do some research, poll our community, do more research and then write this really thoughtful piece about the pros and cons of auto DMs, and I finally realized today…I just need to get it out there. It won’t be perfect, but at least I will have said my peace.

I am not a fan of the auto DM and I want people to stop sending them out. Please.

What was once a feature being used to tell people a little more about you has now become nothing but a promotional tool and a total annoyance. On any given day, the Social Media Club account sees 50-75 auto DMs that range from ‘get rich quick’ to ‘get 18,000 followers in two days’ to someone simply saying ‘thanks for following me!’. None of these have value to me.

The first two are spam, the latter is sweet, but honestly – I would rather you not send that auto DM as it doesn’t tell me anything about you. I understand your desire to recognize the follow, but all it did was cause me to spend an extra minute in the day hitting the delete button. Multiply that by 50 tweets a day with the same message and it has suddenly become a big annoyance.

As the Twitter community grows so does the number of auto DMs we receive. What was once manageable, now requires 10-15 minutes a day culling through our DM ‘spam’ trying to find the real messages someone actually took the time to pen PERSONALLY.

It makes me wonder if there is some secret ‘getting started with Twitter’ handbook being passed around to everyone signing up for a new account that says the auto DM is a good idea. Trust me, it might have once served its purpose, but it is nothing but an irritant to me.

So please, I beg of you. Turn the auto DMs off.

If you are really interested in getting to know me/us, how about we go a little ‘old school’ and do the following:

  • Reach out personally 1:1 and let me know a little about you.
  • Learn a little about me before you reach out. If you do, you will know that I don’t like to receive ‘get rich quick’ DMs (and I am starting to block people who send those out).
  • Understand I am not going to promote something you did just because you asked me to.
  • I am not going to click on a random link from someone I don’t know – no matter how enticing the tiny url looks.

And please know I do appreciate the thought of you thanking me for following you, but let’s both just do this telepathically and save me wearing down of my delete key.


Note: This was cross posted on Social Media Club.

Twitter Rotation VI

Think it is time to mix things up a bit in my following list.

I have been trying to rotate the information sources and people I learn/hear from in a very systematic way as the Libra in me wants everything to be fair and balanced, but as I go through the list of people I have been following – I see about 1/3 of them rarely post tweets so I am hearing from the other 2/3, a lot, which kind of defeats the purpose of diversifying my network.

So in this rotation…I am going to break out of the system and go for recommendations.

I would like to get back to 400 people that I follow (for now), so I am looking for the one person YOU follow on Twitter that you think I should be too, and will add the first 40 names that come my way.

I would also love to know why they strike a chord with you as that is a quick easy introduction into their life for me. Do they make you laugh? Have you learned something from them? Are they pushing the curve in their industry? Do they have an interesting story to tell? Are they best friends with @davejmatthews and can get me front row seats to any show I want at a reasonable cost?

Alright, alright – the last item might be reaching a bit….

There are a lot of smart, interesting folks in Twitterland and I hope this experiment exposes me to different industries, occupations, likes and dislikes – providing me the opportunity to learn something new every single day.

All I ask, dear Universe, is that all 40 are NOT Marketing/PR consultants. I might just lose my shit if that happens.

Not an Apple fangirl…but turning into one.

My MacBook started randomly screaming at me, so I made an appointment at the Apple store in San Francisco to have them take a look at it. The fella (wish I got his name) behind the genius bar advised the fan was toast and ordered a new one for me. In a couple of days, I would be able to work in silence again. Woot.

I was preparing for a nice little bill when I got a lovely surprise – even though my warranty had expired months before, he ended up waiving the cost of the replacement part for me. He also noticed a small crack in my keyboard housing and said they would replace that for free too!

Customer service done right

They returned my laptop within 12 hours and I walked out the door without a penny spent. Thank you Apple.

More about my Twitter experiment…

In my semi-recent post discussing my Twitter experiment, a couple of questions came up on my process, so I thought I would elaborate a little bit on ‘why’ and the ‘how’ as this ‘following’ thing can leave some folks feeling slighted, and I want to eliminate any hard feelings that might be brewing.

First the ‘why’. In my original post, I noted the following:

For a while the list of people I followed was intentionally kept small (under 150), as I am a big believer of the Dunbar Number and the power of small(er) tightly connected networks. Over time, I allowed it to squeak up to 225 which made the conversations more interesting and diverse, but also required a bigger investment of time as I try to stay attached to my ‘community’ (yes, I am one of the nut jobs who likes to try and read every tweet from the people I follow).

Fast forward eight months and I have extended my network so I now follow 400+ people, but truth be told, I am finding it extremely hard to ‘keep up’ with what everyone is doing now. There is also a sense I have lost some of the intimacy I once had when only following 150 people, but I have to admit, back then there was also a feeling I was living in the ‘echo chamber’ as my network was not very diverse – so this experiment has exposed me to a multitude of industries, beliefs, customs and ideas. While some of my new relationships may not be as deep as those in the past, I am extremely happy where this is going right now.

UPDATE: In my original post, I forgot to mention that I also manage the Social Media Club Twitter account (14k followers) and the my6sense Twitter account (not as many followers [yet]), which adds to the lack of attention mix. I swear, sometimes I wonder how I manage to keep up.

What about the ‘how’: I am still trying to do this systematically to keep it as fair as possible. As for who I am following – I started out rotating 50 people every 30 days, but found trying to rotate contacts that often is tough and does not give me enough time to learn about anyone, so I have pushed the rotation back to every 60 days. The process for the 50 people I add has been tweaked over time, as I used to add every 4th person but realized I needed to dig deeper into the follower list so now I add every 25th person from my following list to get the first 35 people. For the next 10 people, I continue along the every 25th person in my follower list, but instead of following them directly, I go into their account and pick the 5th avatar showing up in their followers list and add them. For the last 5 slots, I add a name of someone I recently met or have heard of and add them (some of them have been people that got cut from previous rotations, liked what they had to say so wanted to bring them back into rotation). It sounds complicated, but honestly, it is a simple process that simply takes a bit of time to put into effect, but has given me a well rounded information source.

For the cutting list – this is the part I absolutely hate, but realize I needed to strip emotions out of it completely to ensure a fair process. It is a bit easier than the add piece as I dig into the list of people I am following and cut every 25th one on the list. As for preserving anyone, no. Not even my husband. If he came up 25th in line, I would remove his tweets to allow for someone new to come into my view, and I have unfollowed several people I feel are close[r] friends to me – [for example] @pistachio, @chrisbrogan, @missrogue and @jowyang…so no one receives special treatment.

I have removed two people mid rotation as they were posting items I felt offensive to my belief system. I also removed @jasoncalacanis and @scobleizer mid rotation as they both posted so often, that it made it hard to keep up with everyone else. Other than that, I follow my group until the next turn.

I am trying to be as fair as I possibly can, and I thought my system allowed me to do so.

I know I have hurt people’s feelings as I am not following them. It sucks, and all I can say [right now] is ‘I am sorry’ as I simply cannot follow 1000 people and get *what I want* out of this ‘tool’. For me, I am looking to expand the network of people I know, and following a smaller group allows me the time to get to know a little about them. I am not here to build a large following list. I am here to build meaningful relationships and expand my knowledge base.

The other interesting piece in evaluating my little Twitter experiment is I started looking into how I am using the other networks I belong to and I thought I would share that with folks as well:

* Facebook – This is by far, my largest ‘network’ as I am adding anyone who friends me there. I don’t join every group and I hate throwing snowballs at people or being poked, but I am using Facebook to experiment with how big can I grow a network and still feel like I can say a name and know where they come from and how I know them from.

* LinkedIn – This is my business network. If I have worked with you, met you in real life or had a conversation with you and I want to make sure we stay connected in a professional level, I make sure to add you into LinkedIn. If you and I have never spoken before, I will not accept an invite.

* Ning – Same as Facebook, I connect with anyone who reaches out.

* Dopplr – If I know you or have some kind of personal contact with you, I am happy to share where I am spending my time with you.

* Flickr – I follow the Facebook rules here, for the most part. I have blocked a few people as their tastes drastically differ from mine and I just do not want to become a photo on their wall, but my life is pretty much an open book and searchable via Google – so friend away. 🙂

So there you go. I will continue my experiment for as long as I feel I am getting value out of it, and look forward to connecting with folks in various ways along this journey.

Making ‘sense’ of my professional life

When I announced I was back on the market last June, there were some questions I had to answer. Mainly, what did I want to do next. Yeah, I know – start with a biggie.

I interviewed with a lot of companies. I was extremely fortunate to have received more than my fair share of offers. There were some really good opportunities presented, but honestly – nothing felt exactly right…until now.

Time to raise the curtain on what I am doing. This morning my company, my6sense, launched at the Under The Radar event in Mountain View, CA.

And I couldn’t be more excited.

It is a small ambitious team, tackling a very big idea (‘information overload’). It is also a product/service I will actually use, which was a key factor in my decision. Best of all, they understand and appreciate the work Chris and I have put into building Social Media Club and they want me to continue with that too. Score!

So I am dusting off my keyboard and getting back to work, albeit part time to start, but I am working. Woot.