Don’t Forget Context When you Add your Content

How to make my posts impacting?
← 6. Topic Management

On the view mode of your topic, edition features are available for each post to:

Add Context: why should your audience read this? How is it connected to other posts you’ve curated on the same topic? Connect the dots, give your opinion and thoughts: the Post description area is just here for that, either directly from the publishing window or, once the post is published, by clicking on the pen icon.

via How to make my posts impacting? – Customer Feedback for Scoopit.

I think we do forget context when we write our content. It’s such a race to get a new post finished and posted that we forget to give it the extras that make it relevant to readers and show them not just why we wrote the post but why they should read it.

I don’t mean showing them why they should read it in that marketing way that treats everyone like they read at the grade school level and just took a giant happy pill. I mean actually thinking about why someone should read your post, what they can get out of it. Think of why you would read it yourself and what you would hope and expect to get from it. Then, make sure you have that information in the post you wrote.

When it comes to curating content it is so easy to get a bit lazy or try to rush through and add several links while skipping the chance to add your own commentary. But, links without that context are less likely to be clicked. Think about yourself – how often to you click a mystery link versus one which comes with the context to tell you what the link (or the blog post) is about.

Would findingDulcinea Like Your Blog?

Stop thinking about luring in Google. Consider the standards of another site, one that focuses on finding great content. How would your site stack up to their guidelines?

What is findingDulcinea‘s site selection process?
We evaluate Web sites on many criteria including credibility, usability, and design.

Credibility is a fundamental criterion of any site we recommend. When considering a source, we review who has prepared the content, what the site’s editorial policy is, when the page was last updated, and whether undisclosed biases or conflicts of interest may exist.

Usability is assessed by asking ourselves the following questions: Does the site communicate its purposes quickly and concisely? Is the site’s navigation conducive to finding information and returning to where you came from? Does obstructive advertising hinder navigation, or does the site make it difficult to differentiate between content and advertising? If a site has a wealth of information but it is difficult to find, the information may be less valuable to our readers.

Design  We always note whether or not a site’s design and layout, particularly the presence of advertising, will distract our users from the editorial content, and more importantly, whether or not ads are labeled as such. Some otherwise useful sites unfortunately are rife with advertising or distracting design elements, and when this is the case, we want you to know about it.

Other important factors:

Cost: We don’t shy away from recommending outstanding subscription-based sites, but we do evaluate the pros and cons of such sites by signing up for them ourselves. More often than not, we find comparable sites in many categories that do not charge a fee for use.

Accessibility: Does the site itself load easily and get updated frequently? Do the links the site provides access to function correctly? How quickly do page loads take on average? Does the site require plug-ins like Adobe FlashPlayer, JavaScript, or other add-ons that might hinder usability? Does the site make its customer service team, authors, or editors available for contact? Where applicable, is the “Help” section well indicated and useful to readers?

via FAQ / findingDulcinea.

Do You Consider Low Literacy When you Write for the General Public?

Strategies of low-lit readers

People with low literacy skills have difficulty understanding what they read because they’re spending so much effort on decoding—word and letter recognition—that they have few cognitive resources left to interpret meaning. They may read every word put in front of them, but because they don’t have much left to attend to comprehension, they take little meaning from what they read.

When you observe someone who has low literacy skills reading, you’ll likely see some of the following behaviors:

Reading one word at a time.

Taking things literally.

Avoiding reading altogether.

Satisficing (skimming, or only reading the first or last sentences).

Retaining little.

Accommodating low-literacy readers

You might be feeling like there is little you can do to accommodate unskilled readers. But take heart: there are plenty of ways to present information that make it easier (if not exactly easy) for low-literacy adults to understand and use it.
Make it easy to read: Writing text at an appropriate level can help to ensure that the reader has a better chance of understanding and being able to use the information. Plain language guidelines like using common words and shorter sentences will help.

Make it look easy to read: As important as making information easy to read is making it look easy to read. Designing a simple layout with lots of white space, type that is large enough to be easily read, and headings that provide visual cues about the content will make the interface less intimidating.

Include only what’s important: Given that it takes so much effort required by low-lit readers to decode text, much less interpret and apply it, you should only cover information they need to know, not what’s nice to know. Focus first on actions the user should do, not the theory behind why it should be done.

Be consistent: Using synonyms (for example, alternating between using “dairy” and “milk” at different points in text to describe dietary restrictions for a medication) requires additional cognitive resources. What is often obvious to skilled readers—like using two different words to mean the same thing—requires more work for poor readers to decipher.

Provide feedback: Let users know there are a certain number of steps to achieve a desired result and where they are in the process; in other words, provide a light at the end of the tunnel. Provide validation whenever possible. Otherwise, low-lit users may opt out.

via The Audience You Didn’t Know You Had | Contents Magazine.

Will Cable TV Become Obsolete Before the Printed News?

I should start collecting information on this, but for now I’m just posting this link. (See below).

I think there’s a chance cable TV service will become a dinosaur/ obsolete before the print newspapers even. People talk about the demise of publishing in print, but it costs less than a dollar to buy a whole newspaper and a whole lot more to keep your cable account paid each month. Which would you stick with longer?

Nielsen: 1.5M U.S. households cut the cord in 2011 — paidContent.

Stop Wasting Your Time… on Titles that Don’t Say Enough

Are you losing potential readers because you don’t post enough information when you try to lure them into your posts?

We read so many leading titles that have promise and then don’t deliver. As writers, we need to give people enough information that they can connect to something we have written about and want to read more. Skipping details might bring curiosity but if the connection is lacking, or not there at all, it just won’t work.

Last night on Twitter I read a Twitter post promoting an article. It sparked my interest but, there wasn’t enough information to make me actually want to click it. In trying to catch my attention the writer was trying to be mysterious and (I guess) provoke my curiousity. It did, but not enough for me to open another window on my web browser.

So I posted back to her on Twitter for more detail. She replied back and said I’d have to click/ read the article to find out.

But, the fact is that I don’t have to. Not at all.


The fact is that her article is just one more in the pack. I didn’t click the link and read it. If she had said it was about surviving cancer, or surviving a plane crash, or surviving a two-year-old temper tantrum… one of those would have been that bit of extra information that would have given me enough reason to read her article. By choosing to keep the mystery she lost my interest.

Even more importantly, I didn’t connect to her article. I didn’t feel it applied to me enough that I needed to read it. That bit of missing information made all the difference.

Add an Adult Content Warning to your Site

I run one adult themed blog. It’s mainly for myself, a place to keep things that I wouldn’t post to other sites. Basically, it’s another niche site, but the content happens to be about sex and erotica. Today I moderated a spam comment which I feel is pretty gross. It gives a link to a site selling sex toys. I will cut and paste the comment in but I’m not linking to the site.

This made me realize I don’t have an adult content warning on my adult blog now. I had it up on Blogger where they automatically add the warning. So I began to look for adult content warning information online. I wanted to know what to write and then I was going to decide where to put it on the site. Instead I found a plugin which will work, bring up the warning as a pop up. This is perfect. It won’t be something else I need to fit into the sidebar. Plus, it will stand out and not be missed when someone enters my site.

What I do find interesting (and backwards) is how few adult content plugins there were (one). Also, when I began looking for information all the posts were about how to remove adult content warnings from sites. In most cases if an automatic adult content warning comes up there is a legitimate reason. Blogger wasn’t doing it just for kicks.

For Canadians I found a site, CyberTips, which asks people to report children being abused online. If you find a site trying to sell to minors, etc. It’s about protecting children and stopping child pornography. What it doesn’t seem to have is a way for those who run adult sites to know what they should or should not do. I guess we are left to our own judgement, which is why people are trying to remove adult content warnings rather than making sure they have them up.

Last point, the site which was linked to in the comment spam this morning has an adult content warning. Hidden at the bottom of the site and it doesn’t really say much. But, it does claim to be in compliance with the US laws. Is it really though? Or are the laws not tight enough in their protection of children? What do you think about adult content online?

See also:
Text Ed
Respect Yourself

Have Earth Day on Snip.it

Have an environmental issue or topic you feel passionate about? Create a collection of articles, images and videos around it for Snip.it’s Earth Day Awareness competition, which kicked off today. The winning collection gets a new iPad, plus a $200 donation to an environmental nonprofit of choice.

Users can submit collections — on anything from sustainable living to clean tech to energy conservation — from now until April 20th. A panel of judges, including ecofabulous’ Zem Joaquin and preeminent clean teach investor Vinod Khosla, will choose a 1st place collection on Earth Day (April 22).

The judges are looking for collections with deep content, thoughtful annotations and success in spreading awareness through Facebook likes. Snip.it will choose the winners on Earth Day (April 22nd).

PRIZES!

1st Place: New iPad + $200 donation to the environmental nonprofit of your choice
2nd Place: $250 cash award + $100 donation to the environmental nonprofit of your choice
3rd Place: $150 cash award + $50 donation to the environmental nonprofit of your choice
Collections with 15+ Facebook Likes get Snip.it t-shirts

Good luck and happy snipping (for the Earth!)
For more information, head to snip.it/earthday.
Guest post from:

Jennifer Pollock
Director of Content
@Snipit

Are We Becoming Social Hermits?

Our world is shrinking. The Internet was predicted to bring sweeping changes to the way we communicate, to bring the world together, connecting us all as a community over distances.

Maybe the changes aren’t working for everyone. Have you noticed there seem to be more cases of shut ins, people with agoraphobia and other social related issues which cause them to close down or hide themselves away?

The information age is bringing us too much information, too much social connectedness and too much time of being available versus giving ourselves some down time. It’s not just the Internet now. People seem to be attached to their mobile phones like chain smokers. Is it really just a way to communicate without ever being face to face, in the same room with someone?

Far more people claim to be introverts than extroverts. So why are we pushing social interaction so much? Why are we filling every available surface, every form of media with information, far more than any human being could ever absorb? What is the rush to share? What is so important that it needs to be shared, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week?

No wonder some people want to get away from it all. There is a lot of ‘all’ to get away from. It’s not even easy to remove yourself now. Go to a remote location and you will still find some form of social communication creeping in. There will be advertising, likely a phone, radio, maybe even a television, if not a laptop computer. When do you get away from all the noise? When do you have that down time?

I never get away completely. The best I can do is lock the doors on the house, stop answering the phone and don’t turn on the television or the radio, or the computer. I take a book to bed with me. A real, paper printed book. It’s very quiet and though it does have ads for other books – it saves them for the back of the book which I only see when I have finished reading the book. They don’t pop out at me, they don’t demand my attention in any way.

If you watch an old movie or a movie about people surviving after the end of civilization… doesn’t it seem kind of peaceful and simple? Communication tends to be the spoken word, or a printed page. I watched a movie about people surviving after alien plants took over. Some part of my mind was thinking how nice it would be… locked away in that big old house they found. They made it safe against alien plant invasion and there were so few people left in the world that there was no outside noise left. How cozy to be there, a huge fire for warmth and all that quiet, the information highway, the mobile phones, the television… all of it silenced.

After awhile I’d miss the Internet. Not the phone. I had a mobile phone for a week and returned it to the store. I just don’t want to be available to the world 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I’m a social hermit by choice.

See my other posts related to taking or needing a break from it all:

Collaboration and Collective Action

People working together is back in fashion. I’ve heard about smart mobs a few years ago, but the latest seems to be collaboration and collective action. In short, people working together to achieve a common goal.

It would be nice to have someone I could call on for help with some of the stuff that piles up so easily. But, in most cases I couldn’t expect someone else to know what my plans, standards and goals are. I think working in a group takes someone with a lot of organizing to get things going and keep them from stalling somewhere along the way. Would that be someone you could be? Then there’s probably a job for you out there among the people involved with collaboration, collective activities and so on.

Collective action is the pursuit of a goal or set of goals by more than one person. It is a term which has formulations and theories in many areas of the social sciences.

Smart Mobs | Scoop.it

How Stuff Works: What are smart mobs?

A smart mob is a group that, contrary to the usual connotations of a mob, behaves intelligently or efficiently because of its exponentially increasing network links. This network enables people to connect to information and others, allowing a form of social coordination.

Cooperation Commons

(Peer to Peer) P2P Foundation

About Collective Intelligence | Scoop.it

Open Collaboration | Scoop.it

Strategy + Business: The Promise (and Perils) of Open Collaboration