Book Blogger Appreciation Week

Book Blogger Appreciation was started by Amy Riley of My Friend Amy in an effort to recognize the hard work and contribution of book bloggers to the promotion and preservation of a literate culture actively engaged in discussing books, authors, and a lifestyle of reading.

The first Book Blogger Appreciation was observed in the fall of 2008 and occurs every September. The week spotlights and celebrates the work of active book bloggers through guest posts, awards, giveaways, and community activities. Book Bloggers are encouraged to register their participation for inclusion in a database of book bloggers.

Found this site from a post on The Gatekeepers Post.

The 52 Weeks of Pagan Art Journaling Project

The 52 Weeks of Pagan Art Journaling project has already begun. Create a personal art journal which will have you tapping into the depths of who you are and what has developed in your soul, your heart, your inner depths). Take what you really believe in and bring it onto the page in words and images. Read more and see the others participating at Aradia’s Cauldron.

Starting in February, with Brighid’s celebration of Imbolc, I’m starting 52 weeks of pagan art journaling project. So join me if you like as I post weekly prompts to get you thinking about what your path means to you, in words and art!

What is an art journal, you ask? The concept is simple really (even though it may seem a little daunting sometimes). An art journal is a journal that you use words and art (sometimes more art, sometimes more words) to record your thoughts, ideas, and feelings in.

The journal can be as fancy and as simple as you would like it to be! Some people draw amazing pictures, while others, like me, create simpler pages. They can be colours, sketches, collages, or anything else you’d like. Sometimes a page can be image based, other times it can be more text based. Art journals let you play and explore.

Unplugging/ Digital Sabbatical as a Writing Technique

Has your writing lost it’s lustre? Have you stalled out somewhere in the middle or has your newest idea flat lined before you really started?


Have you been feeling kind of bored with the Internet? Are you missing the way you felt when you started online, discoveries and adventures just around every corner? If you stay offline do you miss it or do you crave it, unable to keep away for even one day?

You’ve landed in a rut. Bleh, as my niece would say. You may even be procrastinating, getting sucked into checking email and playing online games instead of accomplishing anything from your to-do list.

Take a digital sabbatical. Taking a break from it all is a great way to give yourself fresh perspective. By taking a few steps back you can see the bigger picture. It’s quite possible a digital sabbatical will change your life, or at least give you something new to talk about when you get back.

How far can you go? A weekend getaway, a stay-cation or just a few hours of leaving the computer and cell phone off?

The Unplugged Project (Twitter)
Lifehacker: Know When you Should Unplug from the Internet
Power Me: Unplug to Overcome Distraction
Owning Pink: Recharge your Mojo by Unplugging from the Internet
Gwen Bell: Digital Sabbatical
Rowdy Kittens: Everything you Need to Know about a Digital Sabbatical
Mediaite: No Internet for 24 Hours: My Unplug Challenge
Comfort Queen: How to Take a Digital Sabbatical
Weblog Better: A Simple Guide to Taking Digital Sabbaticals
One With Now: Taking a Digital Sabbatical – Why and How
Work Awesome: Enrich your Life – Go on a Digital Sabbatical
The 99 Percent: Lab Rat: What Happens When you Unplug from your Internet Addiction?

BlackBerry Resources

I chose a  BlackBerry for my first mobile phone. But, after a week I changed my mind. Not about the BlackBerry, just the whole mobile phone thing itself. I’ve just never been the phone type. I also didn’t want to spend an extra $50 a month for something I hadn’t even used once in the week I had it.

In the meantime I looked up the BlackBerry. I wanted to find out how to use it and what could be done with it. Also, any groups for BlackBerry users. I found quite a bit, most of it useful and interesting. Here they are for your viewing pleasure.


How Does This Sound?

I applied for a job as a Social Media Assistant for a women’s site in the US.

I can bring experience, creative ideas, ingenuity and pretty great spelling to the New Women’s Guide.

I’ve been working with social media since before it had a name. My own sites have been through many learning lessons, trial and error, with me. I’ve found what works, what does not and what might be worth a try. I enjoy trying something new, I’m often an early adopter for new sites and technology. When I find something that really works I’m loyal to it and glad to pass it along and help a good site grow. The best thing about doing it yourself is making all the mistakes first hand and then learning from them. I began writing online in 1998, I’ve explored, made those mistakes, had a great time doing it all and I learned a lot!

I’m not a social butterfly, using social media just to fill up space or as a secondary RSS feed for blog posts. I’d rather contribute something real, make a difference in someone’s day or at least not seem boring or trivial. My posts are social and have something to say whether I’m sharing an idea, a link to a site or exchanging information and building a community. It’s too easy to feel you are drowning in social media with it’s SEO advice, reposted links and commercialism. While I do use social media to post my own links I also make a point of giving something real of myself and my experience.

My resume is posted to Google Documents:

The Invisible Deep, Dark Web

The invisible web is what you can’t find using the usual search engines or web directories. The search engines have adapted so they can find some of the invisible web. Pages not created with standard HTML, sites created with other software or scripts didn’t always show up in searches.

So what’s still unavailable? Databases which use passwords or choose to block or restrict search access in some way. Anything which requires user interaction in order to use the site, becomes unavailable or invisible to standard searches.

You probably think this hidden content doesn’t really matter. You’ve found the information you need online and don’t see anything lacking. But, not everyone uses the web the same way. Those who want to research a topic or find detailed information may want a peek at the resources in the deep web. There is a report stating the invisible/ deep web is 500 times bigger than the standard web. Doesn’t that make you at least a bit curious?

You can investigate some of these extra resources yourself, even using a standard surface search. When you type in your search terms add words like: database, portal, directory to it. You may land at some page in a larger site and need to do some backtracking or know a bit about mining a site for it’s resources. However, it could be interesting to explore what’s out there in the deep, dark, invisible land of the WWW. The Invisible Web
Internet Tutorials: The Deep Web
JEP: White Paper: The Deep Web: Surfacing Hidden Value
Wikipedia: Invisible Web
Wikipedia: Dark Internet
Those Dark Hiding Places: The Invisible Web Revealed (No longer being kept updated).
Search Engine Watch

Resources for Searching the Deep Web:

Write a Small Stone of Your Own

From Writing Our Way Home: How to Write Small Stones

A small stone is a very short piece of writing that precisely captures a fully-engaged moment.

There are no strict rules for what makes a piece of writing a small stone, as there are for forms such as haiku. The process of finding small stones is as important as the finished product – searching for them will encourage you to keep your eyes (and ears, nose, mouth, fingers, feelings and mind) open.

Small stones are published at A Handful of Stones.

Are you a Content Curator?

A content curator is more than someone who re-posts links, quotes sources and aggregates content from feeds. A content curator uses their own passion for the topic to filter and give meaning to the content they select. They also add their own information and ideas to the updates.

I have worked as someone who collects content in several ways and methods: web directory editor, topic writer and group moderator. Each requires some aspects of content curating. Online content curators will not only present content but give it their own perspective and priorities. A content curator can shape public opinion with the choices they make, the content they choose to include or pass by.

The Economist: Meet the Curators
You might say that you don’t need to be a journalist to cobble together a list of links. But actually, given the huge proliferation of sources these days, you do. Being able to scan a vast range of material, determine what’s reliable, relevant and sufficiently objective, decide what will actually interest your particular readers and arrange it in a way that they can use are not trivial skills.

Social Media Today: Marketer, Media or Museum: The Content Curator

For Bloggers – A Cure for Writers Block
If you’ve thought about creating a blog but suffer from writer’s block, this concept is great news for you. You don’t necessarily have to become a star journalist overnight. Instead, start as a curator. Read all the blogs you can in your niche market, then sort and prioritize, hand-pick the best, and share them with your readers. A “Top 10 posts” on a particular topic makes a great blog post. Or, find a post that stands out for you and add your voice by sharing your reactions on your own blog (like I’m doing here!). Always link back to the original writer, of course, and invite feedback if you want to make it a dialog.

For Social Media Types – Sharing With Purpose
As a content curator, you don’t just share what seems interesting; you prune through the overload, find what’s most valuable to your audience, and share it – branded with your perspective. Make sure the content you’re sharing is consistent with the brand or image you want to convey — and that it feeds social media followers to related content on your blog or website. The idea is to share the right information at the right time, to the right people.

For Webmasters — Digital Assets That Drive Traffic and Conversions
A comprehensive content marketing strategy should have your company website at its center. A content curator will aggregate your company’s best digital assets for display, much like a museum curator creates a thoughtful exhibit to display historical or artistic artifacts.

Grow: Are Content Curators the power behind social media influence?
The Curators are the greatest consumers of content AND the greatest contributors—including sharing. That makes Curators a hub and the easiest users for marketers to reach. Curators, like me, are actively looking for information to share with others, and actively spreading the word. Content Curators are the best online friend a marketer could have!
In this new world, Curators become a commodity and they have value that will be sought after. Marketers will seek curators in specific topic areas and with specific traits. Marketers will want to know:

  • The topics this person curates. Curators specialize.
  • The networks and communities he/she curates to. Curators who are plugged into niche communities and forums may be even more valuable.
  • The number of connections on those networks. The volume or following always counts.
  • The types of connections the curator has. What’s the quantity of different types of social users following this curator: gamers, social butterflies, shoppers, deal seekers?
  • Reshare value. How many of this curator’s followers reshare the content, and how wide a net do they cast?
  • The click-through-rate for this curator’s content. How often do people open the items this curator shares?
  • The conversion rate resulting from this curator’s content. How often does a recommendation from this person generate sales? How often does a click through on a piece of content from this curator result in a sale?

Trainingwreck: Content Curators

The first skill or change to adapt to is to begin thinking this way from the beginning. As we all go about our day, and we inevitably come into contact with content, knowledge and wisdom that may benefit others, we need to begin thinking in a way that is selfless not selfish. We need to say to ourselves, “who may benefit from this as well?” Let’s think of this as the curate stage.

The second skill or change to adapt to concerns our ability to categorize and thus effectively store the knowledge somewhere. I liken this to an intricately interconnected network of universal personal content management systems. I’m not exactly clear how this can be accomplished, but think ‘dewey decimal system’ only individualized, personalized and capable of much more than surfacing links. It’s certainly supplementary and much more useful than Delicious or other bookmarking sites as well.

The final skill or change to adapt to is our ability to appropriately communicate the knowledge that has been curated and categorized itself. No, I’m not referring to email distribution lists. Whether through some digitally sewn quilt of RSS and other push-communication capabilities, the communication of this now categorized content is incredibly important.

Influential Marketing Blog: The Five Models of Content Curation
Aggregation – Aggregation is the act of curating the most relevant information about a particular topic into a single location. Often taking the form of catalog style blog posts which list “27 Great Resources For Small Business” (or similar aggregations), this is the most common form of content curation.

Distillation – Distillation is the act of curating information into a more simplistic format where only the most important or relevant ideas are shared. As a result, there may be quite a bit of additional content that is lost for the sake of simplicity – however the value comes from the fact that anyone digesting this content no longer has to contend with a high volume of content and can instead consume a more focused view of information.

Elevation – Elevation refers to curation with a mission of identifying a larger trend or insight from smaller daily musings posted online. Encompassing much of what many trend-focused websites do, this can be one of the hardest forms of content curation because it requires more expertise and analytical ability on the part of the person or organization during the curating. The benefit is that it can also be the most powerful in terms of sharing new ideas as well.

Mashup – Mashups are unique curated justapositions where merging existing content is used to create a new point of view. Taking multiple points of view on a particular issue and sharing it in a single location would be one example of this type of behaviour – and could be used to describe the sort of activity that takes place every day on Wikipedia. More broadly, mashups can offer a way of creating something new while still using content curation as a basis for it because you are building on existing content.

Chronology – Creating a Chronology is a form of curation that brings together historical information organized based on time to show an evolving understanding of a particular topic. Most useful when it comes to topics where understanding has shifted over time, this can be a powerful way of retelling history through informational artifacts that exist over time to prove how experiences and understandings have changed.

From a job posting for an Online Content Curator:

The ideal candidate:

  • is passionate about being part of the future web
  • has some tech background, including basic web development (but no serious dev chops required)
  • has the proven ability to write a snappy headline and coherent commentary – copy-writing experience a plus
  • is an online media consumer and is familiar with sites like Huffington Post and Daily Beast
  • adapts quickly to data and content management tools and interfaces
  • has some image editing experience
  • is moderately well-informed, from pop culture to global politics, from Kim Kardashian to Kim Jong Il
  • enjoys reading (and possibly writing) high-quality blogs
  • approaches repetitive tasks with “productive zen”
  • thinks about usability in a mobile context… and has an app for that