What is a (#) Hashtag?

Thanks to the member-driven online information site Twitter, the lowly “pound” or “number” symbol “#” has been elevated to a new role. The hash mark, or pound symbol, (#) is now known by social media users as a “hashtag” or “hash tag”. Posts that have the same keywords prefixed with the # symbol are grouped together in user searches, bringing a level of order to the frenzied chaotic world of Twitter.

Twitter user Chris Messina (@chrismessina) first Tweeted with a hashtag symbol # in August 2007, as a way to define groups on the social media site. The use of the pound symbol to categorize messages and define conversations spread quickly throughout the Twitter community, and is now an integral part of this fast-paced live information network.

via What is a (#) Hashtag? | Hashtags.org.

I can’t resist adding some Internet history along with the information about hashtags.

Hashtags can be used or organize information, create an archive or directory for a group of people. But, I think hashtags are just fun. Stick together a phrase (shortened for space) and add it as a sub-commentary to your post.

Don’t take hashtags too seriously.

Pay for Comments?

Granted, this will never happen. We’re still clinging to the idea that comments give people a voice. Plus, the idea of “community” and “engagement” is still too powerful—money depends on traffic, and traffic depends on readers, and a lot of sites confuse “making readers feel involved” with “giving readers and drive-by randos a platform to say basically anything with our tacit approval.”

But failing that, there is a way to save comments and shore up the flagging news industry simultaneously. It is this: Make comments cost money.

via An ingenious way to save the comments section.

Maybe it’s how you view the Internet but… I haven’t noticed a real problem with comments. Nothing different from the old newsgroups which would get flame wars and endless spam. Give people a forum where they can get a lot of attention without showing their face or taking responsibility for what they say… it becomes a free for all.

I think the problem is how comments are moderated. Some people think they have to give everyone a voice and let each person be heard. To delete a comment is awful, denying someone their chance to be heard. But, this is the Internet. Anyone can set up a free site and rant about their issues.

But, setting up a site, maintaining a site and promoting a site is work. It’s so much easier to steal the space someone else has created and worked to build. That way you can pick the best site, or a lot of sites, and drop your comment bombs like a cowbird leaving her eggs in another bird’s nest.

If you run a site, just don’t let the cowbirds comment. Moderation is all about “everything but in moderation”. When you run a site you are not responsible for giving anyone else a voice, or letting them be heard. Choose the comments worth keeping, those which add value to your site and the conversation.

Or, turn off comments and leave people to post comments via social media like Twitter or Facebook, or Tumblr. Somewhere off your site, yet connected.

I think Twitter is the best choice. Not only does it limit the length of comments, making people choose their words, it also lets readers choose who they want to read. You can follow someone who interests you and not follow people who don’t interest you. Readers of your site have the same option. So, in that way Twitter moderates your comments for you, or your readers moderate the comments themselves.

I agree with the post as far as not having to end commenting. I just don’t think asking people to pay for comments is going to work. Comments should not be based on how much money you can spend on them. Those who want to spew and rant will spend money on it. Those who might actually have said something interesting will likely not leave a comment. I wouldn’t. I already don’t like registering for any site in order to leave a comment so I sure won’t be getting out my credit card on top of that.

Titles Matter Don’t Assume

Titles matter when you post to Twitter or other social media or the actual blog post itself. Don’t assume people will know what you are talking about. A title is especially important when you are sharing a link you want readers to click. Inside your blog post a link should be used for the words which describe the post. Not “click here”.

Don’t send a link to social media like a “click here”.

titles matter

 

If this appeared in your social media feed (Twitter in this case) would you click that link?

We follow a lot of people in Twitter, at least I do. We don’t know them all well and we can’t possibly keep up with all of them. So we catch snippets and some of them catch our attention or interest. Some of them don’t. This interview may have caught your attention if you had known what it was about. But, from this title you don’t have that information.

It’s too bad because a lot of women would have enjoyed the interview. Or, if not, they at least would have appreciated the concept of being a sexpot with stretch marks. Perked your interest? See how that works much better than assuming people will know who she is and what book she wrote. Now you might even look her up on Twitter. But, not so likely before knowing the details.

Are you Preventing Social Sharing on Your Own Site?

 

Have you accidentally blocked social media sharing on your own site?

I tried to share a post on this site (see below) to my Scoop.it account. I was using a bookmarklet (more often called an app these days) but I could not get around this site’s note about their use of cookies. How important was this pop up note versus having a post shared?

For that matter – how important are the cookies? I block third party cookies by choice and I’m not changing that. Why is this site using third party cookies anyway?social media blocked

 

Check your own site(s). If you don’t already have a bookmarklet or app for social sharing go to the site for Chrome, Opera or Firefox (or which ever web browser you use) and take a look at the add-ons for social media. They are really nice for making social sharing quick and simple. I actually have a few of them. This way I don’t need to rely on the site itself to have social media sharing and better still, I don’t need to figure out how their social sharing works.

Social Media Marketing Strategist

Social Media Marketing Strategist — Work at Medium — Medium.

Medium is looking for a social media marketing strategist to help support the engagement efforts of the platform’s five digital publications (Matter, Re:Form, among others). He or she will manage the creative, analytical, technical, and relationship aspects of all five publication’s social media channels. The role will involve creating measurable goals and conducting social experiments on a regular basis. This is a 3-month contract position with a competitive salary based in San Francisco.

This person’s daily responsibilities will include:

  • Building specific target audiences for all five publications using distinct voices and tones for each
  • Writing and managing all social media content for each publication
  • Creating and monitoring Facebook and Twitter ad campaigns, as well as other special engagement campaigns
  • Tracking and analyzing social traffic data
  • Optimizing strategy, content, and ads based on performance
  • Creating monthly social media content calendars for each publication
  • Crafting each publication’s weekly newsletter
  • Experimenting with new ways to increase engagement on the platform
  • Liaising with Medium’s User Happiness team on all support queries
  • Working closely with @Medium’s social coordinator to promote these publications across the platform and the web

This person should have previous experience with:

  • Managing social media content and campaigns

  • Experimenting with, tracking, and analyzing social data

  • Implementing online marketing strategies focused on community content engagement

  • Developing voices for brands

  • Copy-writing

Content Designer/ Writer Job Post

Found this posted to FreshGigs.ca

Content Designer/Writer Full-Time

Our philosophy is and yours should be ‘people using our products come first’.

We’re working to create marketing products that people want to use and words play a big part in that. Join the Trade and Marketing Division of the Ministry of Economic DevelopmentEmployment and Infrastructure where you will write, design, develop and produce marketing content, materials and products to market ministry programs and initiatives to target audiences through multiple content formats.

What can I expect to do in this role?

In this role:

  • you will create marketing products to market ministry programs and services using the written word, digital technologies, graphic design and other media
  • you need to be user-focused and know how to write and create with a real-life person not a department in mind

How do I qualify?

Marketing and Communications Knowledge and Skills:

You are able to:

  • create marketing content using a wide variety of media including written, digital, video, graphic design, etc.
  • take complex language, concepts and processes and make them easy to understand
  • clarify and communicate content objectives and bring a broader perspective to a topic so that it can focus on the right information for the user

Technical Knowledge and Skills:

You have proven experience:

  • writing for the web and creating marketing content that is clear, accessible and usable
  • developing marketing material in a variety of mediums and formats
  • choosing the best format for communicating information to the user
  • using existing content and repurposing it into alternate formats for additional uses
  • implementing content marketing strategies
  • using metrics and user feedback to define/refine content
  • marketing in a B2B setting

Analytical and Evaluative Skills:

You can:

  • analyze client needs and target audiences and recommend the most appropriate approach/medium/format, etc.
  • plan and design user-focused content
  • identify content gaps and overlaps and map out content strategies for different audiences using different formats
  • work with a multi-disciplinary team to understand user behaviours and feedback and develop effective content

Content Shock

Let’s fast forward one more time to 2014 and look at the two factors that impact the economics of content marketing — the amount of content available and the amount of content consumed (supply and demand).

Of course the volume of free content is exploding at a ridiculous rate. Depending on what study you read, the amount of available web-based content (the supply) is doubling every 9 to 24 months. Unimaginable, really.

However, our ability to consume that content (the demand) is finite. There are only so many hours in a day and even if we consume content while we eat, work and drive, there is a theoretical and inviolable limit to consumption, which we are now approaching.

This intersection of finite content consumption and rising content availability will create a tremor I call The Content Shock. In a situation where content supply is exponentially exploding while content demand is flat, we would predict that individuals, companies, and brands would have to “pay” consumers more and more just to get them to see the same amount of content.

Content Shock: Why content marketing is not a sustainable strategy – Schaefer Marketing Solutions: We Help Businesses {grow}.

My comment:

You’re talking about what is mainly regurgitated content, repeated from one blog to the next and the next and then shared on social media too. There is still a “market” for fresh and original content – something which has not been duplicated and repeated and made to suit the almighty Google.

Niche blogs from people who actually are a source of information, an authority on their topic and artists who still create something of their own will still have readers.

The problems will be copyrights, not having content ripped off (shared without permission). With so many content marketers, content curators, social media and Google rank obsessed people it is not so hard to get original content picked up and shared around. The hard part is keeping the source link (the artist’s link) with the content.

There is a lack of original content and the marketers are quick to dive in when they actually find something unique because it is becoming harder to find something that hasn’t already been shared and overshared.

Don’t Make Twitter a Dead End for your Profile

I found a blog, Dime Store Chic, had a lot of fun reading several posts, reposted a few of them. Then it came time to decide to keep the link bookmarked, follow on Twitter, like on Facebook and join on Google+. If I like a blog I always follow it with whichever social media they seem most active on, or add the link to my collection of links so I can find it again.

I picked Twitter first because it’s the one I like, it’s active and I can get a quick look at what people are doing now, today even. This is what I found:

dead on TwitterWould you follow this Twitter account?  I doubt it. First of all, the first impression is dull and all just automated links back to her own posts. Second impression, I noticed there isn’t even a link to her own blog in the Twitter profile. So she is really hurting herself without knowing it. Can you tell the name of her blog from anything here? No. No link and not even a name to tell you what it is about. All I see are links with no personality.

Maybe she doesn’t like Twitter. Maybe she finds it confusing or too much to deal with. So, why have the account at all then? Would it be better to have this account or none at all? I think none at all would be better than this. We can’t all be experts at everything, or find time to maintain every least aspect of web publishing. So, pick and choose what you can and will do. If you don’t have time to do more than stick up an automated feed on Twitter, just skip it and save making that first impression blunder. Leave Twitter until you have time, or help to figure it out.

Moving on to her Pinterest account. I don’t pick Pinterest to follow people usually. But, I thought here she would make a better impression. She has a lot of images on her blog after all. But… no. There are six boards created on her Pinterest profile. Four are blank, empty. Only one is active with over 170 pins. If she took down the dead end Pinterest boards her account would not look so abandoned.

Google+ and Facebook were dead ends too. That’s four for four. I was actually disappointed because I liked her blog enough that I would have followed at least one of her social media accounts. Instead I wondered if I had found an old blog. I went back to check and her latest post is this month, this year.

I am not writing this to pick on one person because she is not the only one who sets up social media accounts, promotes them on their site and then leaves them as dead ends for readers to find.

I think they just don’t understand how to use social media, or don’t have the time or don’t really want to be that involved in it. So, stick to just a blog then. Don’t set up these dead ends at all. Ignore people who say you MUST have Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and so on. If you don’t really want to create and maintain social media leave it off your profile if you can’t, won’t or don’t maintain them.

Can you Master the Art of the Humblebrag?

I know humble bragging isn’t a new concept. I’m sure there have been other words to describe it, like false modesty. But, I found humblebrag used as a word in a post on CNN Money. If a word can make it there, seems it’s working it’s way into the language and worth knowing.

So I found out more… there is an upcoming book about the humblebrag. Need a guide or tips: The Art and Science of the Humblebrag. Almost all examples of humblebragging are from celebrities (movie and TV stars in the US). Which really just shows how much power the media gives them. I’m sure there are people who could come up with humblebrags of real cleverness but they are seldom heard.

Of course, spellcheck isn’t accepting humblebrag as a word (two words would be fine, but as a compound word…). Will humblebrag make it as a lasting word or just be another fad word?

I think bragging sucks, don’t get me wrong, but I get it. What I hate about a humble brag is that people try to come off like they aren’t bragging. It’s people not being honest about their intention. Just tell us you are at an exclusive party. Don’t hide it behind a complaint about your dress not fitting.

Why do you think so many people humbly brag?

That is a question I constantly ask myself after reading a really good humble brag. It’s people wanting other people to envy them. I have realized that people do most things so they can tell other people about it. It’s all validation.

via The 50 Funniest ‘Humble Brags’ on Twitter «TwistedSifter.

 

Create a Blogger Wiki to Promote Your Content

Note: This was originally written for HubPages and the writers there.

When you write content on a site like HubPages you want it to be found by people interested in reading about your topic (niche/ genre/ subject matter). But, it can feel like you’re alone in a vast ocean, standing on a rock, jumping up and down, waving and waving without anyone noticing you at all. So, you need to build a platform which rises you a little higher and makes you easier to find.

The established ways to do this are to use social media, backlinks, and other worthy and less worthy ideas which people lump into SEO (search engine optimization). The problem with some of these tactics is the difference between attracting human readers versus attracting search engine bots which don’t actually read your content. Search engines won’t read your content, won’t link to your content and won’t refer friends and followers to your content. A search engine will only list your content for the real people to find. It does not endorse your content the way a referral from a real person can.

So, you need to do something more to bring people to your content. Keywords are not enough. Too many keywords will detract from your content because no one really wants to read that promotional content which is directed to SEO and not human readers. Too many keywords make your writing dull and bland.

Use Google Blogger to Create a Wiki Resource

Try opening a Google Blogger blog, pick a name which suits your content.

Write an introduction post and an about page.

Look for other content such as content curation feeds and RSS feeds relevant to your main topic.Some of them, like Scoop.it, will have widgets which display the content feed. Plus, this is another place you can suggest your own links to as you write new posts. So you will see your HubPages post appear in the feed on the widget you have displayed. This is especially nice because people reading your wiki will see you as an authority beyond the content you have created yourself. It’s like making yourself famous.

Create a few links to sites which you know are excellent references for your topic. You can ask for a link exchange with these sites – once your wiki is established, aged and seasoned a bit.

Now the part where your own content comes in.

Begin to post links to your HubPages posts/ content. Do not repost the content, just create an index. Sort your posts into subtopics branching from the main theme or genre which you write about. (If you write about several topics set up a fresh Blogger account and repeat the steps above for each topic).

Use your subtopics as post headers (titles) and add your links relevant to each subtopic in your topic/ genre. Check your links, make sure they are all going where they should be going – it is not too hard to miss something when you are cutting and pasting several links this way.

In your blog sidebar, over the links to outside reference sites, post links to each of the posts you have just created (the subtopics). Like building an index to your own subtopics in the sidebar.

In this way you are creating a wiki for your content which focuses on your HubPages content but not exclusively. A wiki is a personally created resource about one topic. Traditionally, a wiki is not run by just one person but several contributors sharing knowledge and resources. You can gather others to join you too. However, then you are sharing some of the limelight but building a wiki community is a great way to share your links among the community you create. So it is a trade off and something you can consider.

This idea does not work as well on WordPress.com because Blogger.com is Google’s own appendage blog site. So, it gets some preference.

It does take extra time and energy to create this kind of index to your HubPages content, but it will bring you to the attention of the Google and other search engines. Also, extra Adsense (which you can easily load on Blogger too).

Don’t let your wiki stagnate.

Maintain the blog, add your fresh HubPages content to the subtopics which you have set up.

Add new outside links as you find really good sites to refer people to.

Create an actual post for the blog once in awhile, monthly is fine. The post doesn’t have to be labour intensive. An update about the work you are doing to research your topic is a good post. Or, something you heard/ read in the news relevant to the topic. The point of keeping a monthly post is to show the site is active, at least once a month.

Link to this blog in each of your posts on HubPages. Just add it to the links with a note about it being your wiki or reference site for people who would like more information, etc.

Share the wiki.

The link to your Blogger wiki is one more link you can promote to social media, content feeds, and all the other routine places and ways you promote your content.

Creating the wiki is giving your content (on HubPages or any other sites you write for) an extra boost, another way to be found in the great, big ocean.

Participate Outside of HubPages

If you aren’t already involved in forums and other online communities within your topic make sure you get involved now. Join a relevant forum and be active. Daily is nice but not very practical. Aim for at least weekly and then read as many posts in the forum as you can and contribute. Of course, you can create a signature to use in the form with at least one link to your wiki or your HubPages link, both if possible.

From the comments on the original post:

 

That Grrl  Hub Author

@prarieprincess I got the idea as I was replying to someone else in the forum who was complaining about Google and traffic and etc, the same old stuff. I have never been overly reliant on Google for traffic. I like to look for my own ideas to bring in traffic/ readers.

One thing people writing here don’t quite understand is that HubPages is not buying your content/ articles. If they were there would be copyrights involved. HubPages is buying your social media skills and whatever else you do that works to bring in readers (traffic) to the site. HubPages sells ads which appear with your articles. We get a percent of that. So, in reality the whole thing is not about your content but aobut the traffic you generate here.

Knowing this it is a really good plan to focus on bringing readers from outside of HubPages into HubPages without focusing on Google. This is because once you are in the database at Google you will either rise or stay about the same. There isn’t a lot of point in putting all your eggs in that basket.

So, generating traffic in other ways is the key. I got the idea of the Blogger wiki because I had been looking at wiki sites that week and it popped into my mind that I already have all my old Blogger sites from when I began online ages ago. Why not use them for more than just leaving a trail of links. I know they still get traffic even though I have done nothing but ignore them for years.

Thus the Blogger wiki idea was formed. I added more ideas to what I could do with it as I went along. I don’t have a finished example yet. I’ve got so many projects I’m working on that I am hoping to get my nephew out sometime to help me move stuff along.

 

That Grrl  Hub Author

I have my own blogs with domains and paid hosting. But, you don’t have to go that way. I didn’t start out that way. I’ve been online more than ten years. I was online several years before making the commitment to paying for web hosting. So don’t feel you need to rush into it. A Blogger blog is still free for software and hosting and that will do just fine. More than that is just vanity – which is how they call it a vanity URL/ domain.

I would do both. There is no reason you can’t have an index of all your HubPages post in the sidebar of the blog. Then create individual posts with summaries and links at the end for each post too. This blog is your space to bring your content to the foreground, show it off and get it found. People are using the term ‘discoverable’ lately. and that is just what you are doing.

The only thing you should not do is copy your post and create the dreaded duplicate content. However, unlike at HubPages, on your own site you can have all the links you want. (HubPages gives you a notice if you link to the same domain more than twice).

Have fun with the blog, decorate it. Add widgets for social media which you use and of course highlight your posts here. Then do post the blog link around – use it for your signature in online forums and communities. Get the link around so people can find your content. This is how Google search bots will also find your content and consider it as important because there are links to it in a source outside of HubPages. Also, the link back from your posts on HubPages will keep the bots looking at your links and finding more of your content. They used to call them spiders because they follow links from one starting point to other directions, branching out from the starting point, spidering out.