How Do People Find you Online?

Are you sure people can find you online? What if you change your Twitter account? What if a web service you rely on shuts down? What if… ?
Amy (see images) is my example tonight because I did have to track her down from a broken Twitter link and nothing else but the Scoop.it profile I was already looking at. Google search results were not a big help because her name has changed and the domain for her current name is not the same person. So I searched Google for both names (together) and did find her new Twitter account among the search results. (Turns out I was already following her there).

If you rely on web services, like social media, for your web presence you could be leaving it up to chance.  

Not everyone wants to buy a domain and run their own site. It’s another expense, another new thing to learn and another drain your your available time too. But, consider something simple like creating a quick profile on Blogspot. Yes, it is a web service too, so it could disappear but it has been reliable for a very long time. 
All you need to do is ceate an account (or use the account you forgot you still had) and set up a blog. You don’t need to post regularly. It’s just a place to have your name, some general information and your links available.  If you can get your name, great. (Example – yourname.blogspot.com) Likely you won’t find it available. So pick something clever for your account – consider your business or niche and go from there. 
  • Use the basic template/ theme. Add colour to the header if you want but keep the content easy to read.
  • Add one post with links to your social media accounts. Include an image if you like. 
  • Use your name (or whatever you call yourself online) as the title of the post. Use the same for a category and tags with that post. 
  • Publish it and save the link in your web browser bookmarks. Any time you change a social media account use that link to update the Blogspot post. 
Next time someone goes looking for you online you have this as a base of operations. It’s not perfect but it’s simple and free. 
As an option you can buy a domain and have your Blogspot/ Blogger site on that domain instead of the blogspot.com web address. 
Of course, there are other free web hosting services. I like the history of Blogger and the fact that Google currently runs it with few limitations to how you use it. 

Stunt Journalism

How far would you go to write a story that gets read? Is it still journalism when you are the story? At what point is it a journal, like a diary or log, rather than a news story? How far will a stunt journalist go before the story is about the danger of performing your own, untrained and irresponsible stunts?

When did journalism get so physically degrading?

Immersive journalism is not new. In 1887, the reporter Nellie Bly feigned insanity in order to be committed to a New York City insane asylum. Her stay resulted in a landmark undercover account of appalling conditions at the Women’s Lunatic Asylum. Eighty-odd years later, Hunter S. Thompson wrote a manic first-person account of the 1970 Kentucky Derby, which more or less invented the genre now known as Gonzo journalism.

If the modern stunt essay has a film antecedent, it’s Super Size Me, Morgan Spurlock’s 2004 hit documentary chronicling his own attempt to gorge on nothing but McDonald’s food for 30 days. However jokey it seemed, the stunt served the public interest in clear ways: Spurlock drew national attention to the obesity epidemic, and McDonald’s discontinued its Super Size option shortly after the film premiered. Less journalistic value is accomplished by ingesting nothing but alcohol for a week. Duy Linh Tu, the journalism professor, wonders whether the term “stunt journalism” is a misnomer. “I don’t think all of this is journalism,” Tu says. “I’m not making a quality judgment. It’s all content…. [But] you won’t be able to build a long-term journalistic organization pulling these stunts.”

This is an old journalistic instinct—don’t look for a story, be the story—funneled through new media channels. It’s not the recklessness that’s new (war reporters have long put themselves at risk) but the desperation. Still, what the stunt piece and the personal essay have in common is that the best writing stems from horrible experiences—and that neither of them are going away soon. The stunt craze is liable to change how would-be journalists go about breaking into the industry. Or maybe it already has.

Source: Are We Living in a Golden Age of Stunt Journalism?

An ISSN Number for your Blog?

CaptureSource: ISSN Canada – Library and Archives Canada

ISSN for Weblogs – Joe Clark at fawny.org

ISSN.org – The ISSN for electronic media

Would you get an ISSN number? I’m thinking I won’t. I just don’t post a lot of long articles. I see some sites which are very in depth about their topic and I can see an ISSN being good in that case. What do you think?

Hey Guys We All Know… These are Offensive Phrases

We all know that…

That phrase really bothers me. I don’t like the cajoling, persuasive feeling of those words. I don’t like the assumption that there is a “we” and that I have anything in common with whoever is speaking or writing those words.

Yet this phrase comes up so often. Why? It’s so phony. So irritating and so slimy! I change my mind about whatever “we” are all supposed to know or think or feel as soon as I see or hear that.  I have a mind of my own, thank you! I don’t have a love of all popular culture, the entertainment industry and I don’t own a mobile phone. I’m an independent, free thinker as often as I choose to be.

So, whatever you think “we all know”… I’m just offended and contrary enough to unknow it on purpose!

The other phrase I just can’t stand is anything referring to people as “guys”.

Hey you guys…

Obviously you are only talking to the men because I’m not a guy. I never have been and don’t intend to change that.

Why, when the media is so heavily pushing transgender issues are we also all being called “guys”? Why ask people which pronoun they prefer when you call them all guys and think it’s ok?

Both of these phrases offend me. I hear (or see) them almost daily in advertising, online media and casual conversation.

In short, keep your little marketing hands and small marketing mind to yourself. People are don’t come out of a box each morning – we are unique individuals and we are not all men.

Saving the Open Web?

Source: Can we save the open web? | Dries Buytaert

My comment:

I remember pre-Google. The Internet began shrinking when business became involved. Personal and hobby sites, especially those on Blogger or GeoCities were sneered at. Web mail for email became a reason to block or ban people. Funny how that attitude never seemed to touch GMail.

AOL began the filtered Internet. If AOL was your ISP you didn’t get on the Internet and see everything as everyone else did. AOL blocked and filtered the user experience to suit themselves. Now AOL is seldom heard of. I assume they were swallowed up by some other company.

I miss the Internet before social media. Though I do like Twitter, most of the rest are clutter, popularity contests and marketing extravaganzas where no one is really listening any more. Fifteen years ago we had blocks for pop up ads and frames. Now pop ups are back and almost no one gets into a ranting fit about them. Ironically, I wasn’t bothered much by them the first time around. But they really do bug me now. Especially those which descend as soon as you move your mouse to your browser bar.

There are far less personal or hobby sites now. People want to use information to make a buck. That’s not terrible but it does make everything less trustworthy. I review sites with dmoz, still. I see a lot of garbage. The interesting thing is noting how the garbage has changed over the years. There are always new schemes cropping up. Some good sites get drowned out just because they are personal sites, don’t look sleek and professional.

Marketing, content selling and so on isn’t a bad thing, so much. I think it’s more an issue of intentions. Too many sites are focused on SEO, keywords, marketing and they have forgotten people. Not so different with business, retail, commercial offline. Customer service is something they promote but don’t really care about. (I worked as a department store cashier, I heard all the pep talks in between being told how to sell/ market and smile). Meanwhile customer service people are paid minimum wage, like a lot of sales people. The Internet could hardly avoid this same phoniness.

I hope they can find a balance, but I don’t think we will ever get there. Twenty years ago people came online for different reasons. It really was social then. The Internet was about communication with IRC, BBS, etc. How many of those are still active – spam doesn’t count as activity. Now we have social media but it is flooded with marketing. Facebook is full of meaningless games built to scam people in small cash amounts over time, addicting, like gambling but legal.

I don’t think we can get back what the Internet was, it doesn’t even have the atmosphere of being friendly any more. It’s a business, impersonal but with a smile.

There is an Ice Hockey Photographers Association Niche

Everything has a niche if you just keep looking for it on the Internet. I love finding little groups, even if I don’t have an interest in them personally. It’s just so great to find them existing.

Today I found: Flickr: Ice Hockey Photographers Association

What niche could you be working on? Something interesting to yourself and a group of 2 or 3 people at most? The odd thing about these micro niche topics is how they grow. You start with one person, other than yourself and think that’s nice. But, once people begin to find your niche it just grows and grows.

I began my own niche group on Flickr (years ago). I didn’t do a lot to promote it and there was no SEO involved as far as anything I did. But, my group has over 600 members. Sure some will be forgotten accounts and so on. But, even half that many members is quite amazing for a little niche.

Pick a niche of your own and try it. Put up a free site to start with, post about it on social media and begin making posts to the site. Add photos, add ideas, etc. You might be pleasantly surprised.

The End of News Sites?

The rise of syndicated content hosted on social platforms is a disruptive model that will get more user eyeballs on the content, but spells commercial suicide for established media brands, says Andrew Pemberton, director, Furthr.

Source: ‘Homeless media’ will make media companies like Buzzfeed homeless | Marketing Magazine

Seems this is working for generic/ general or miscellaneous content feeds.

I think there is still value in building a niche feed. Something geared to a hobby, personal interest or a personality site with a combination of linked interests. The big sites can’t do that, they’re too big and inclusive. A niche site has the exclusive focus you want to find when you are looking for ideas and information on something specific. The rest are glorified news readers, just more available now.

Applying for Wisdom Pills

Yonder crazy woman who is she? Where and what her dwelling?

Good King Wencelas has been on my mind over the holidays. Is it true that people don’t know the lyrics beyond the first couple of sentences? It’s one of my favourites but, I admit, I’d have to have the words in front of me to get very far. (It’s a long song!)

Anyway, tonight I impulsively looked at Craiglist. Not for good reasons. I started with the platonic friends and it went down from there. But, I thought I would check the writing/ editing job posts before I left. Usually it’s a lot of freebie work, scams, etc. But, tonight I found and looked into, Wisdom Pills. I read the site, checked the author bios to see what kind of space they get and I read a few posts. The site looks good. This from someone who has reviewed about 500 writer sites in the past two days with dmoz.org.

I had a good feeling about it and… I applied for the job posted. I applied for the midlife topic at BellaOnline this week too. But, I knew that was more about fixing and saving the current topic than something I really wanted to do for myself. It wasn’t a good kind of challenge for me. (I haven’t heard back from them, and likely won’t for awhile, but I’m not going to do it for other reasons too).

Meanwhile… there is Wisdom Pills. It’s a challenge that gives me a bit to worry about and I need something I’m not sure and confident about because I’m letting myself be ok with less, under achieving and just taking on challenges I’m sure of. They aren’t really challenges if there isn’t at least some hint of risk and danger and possible failure. I don’t really think I will fail but… I don’t feel sure about it.

This is what I sent to them tonight:

wisdompills

Wisdom Pills – Something For Your Soul?.

You Might Change your Mind

“No matter what happens: Go buy books. Share the love of those books. Talk about them. Give them to others. Get on social media and crow about them. Don’t be afraid of ideas and politics and people who aren’t like you. Embrace it. Come into the pool. The water’s warm. The drinks are cold. The stories are amazing. Read on.” —Chuck Wendig

I like to read things I don’t agree with, in case I change my mind.

I’m Changing the Way I Blog

I’m changing the way this site works. I think we are past the days when one person could run a whole site, alone while doing all the site maintenance, promotion, writing, publishing and so on. I think having a schedule for posting is more important than it has been in the past. Keeping a daily post does make a lot of difference for traffic to a site. I have seen that with my own sites, clearly.

However, I am still working alone here. I like it that way but it does leave me with more than I can take care of (with several sites now to take care of). So, I am changing the way I blog.

I’ve been a content curator in one way or another since 1998. As an editor at the Open Directory Project I decided which sites suited the topic and I edited the submissions before posting them. No one had thought up content curation then but that’s essentially what running a directory is. Later I worked on other sites, writing, listing links, publishing newsletters, managing forums and all that stuff. Currently I have several topics via the Scoop.it site. I’ve changed them around, deleted some and started up others again when I missed them. It has been a good way to find my focus or niche area. You need that understanding to find a topic or niche you can sustain.

Onto the present with several sites not so active for awhile. I’ve decided to continue posting them with a mix of my own original posts and posts created with my comments on curated posts from other sites. The hold up on getting it all flowing right now is just the technical side of making it work in the way I can work with it.

Anyway, this site is one which will be converted soon. It’s a topic I have a lot of passion about but anything about blogging is drowned out by the SEO “experts”. There is a lack of creativity and originality in blogging. I’d like to keep that element from disappearing. I’d like to see blogs go back to being free spirits rather than marketing hags.

Wish me luck, I’m going to need that and a lot of coffee. 🙂

Content Creation: The act of writing original words, taking an original picture, shooting an original video, etc.

Content Sharing: Taking a piece of content created by yourself or others and distributing it to a following or audience. This can be done in many ways and through many channels; blogs and social media outlets being just a few of the more popular examples.

Content Aggregation: This is like content sharing on steroids. An aggregator typically uses software that automatically pulls in content from multiple sources (such as RSS feeds) and reposts it all at one central location, usually a blog.

Content Curation: Similar to content aggregation, content curation also pulls from many sources. However, instead of automatically posting every piece of content pulled in there is a manual filtering and sorting process that takes place in order to select only the most valuable pieces of content for a given audience. Curation also involves adding helpful annotation that frames the information already provided from the original source in such a way as to add additional value and/or understanding.

Source: Curating Content for a WordPress Blog (How I Do It) – ManageWP