Give a Link Even if you Don’t have a Blog

These days we assume people have a blog, not everyone does however. Or, some might not want to leave a link to their blog for whatever reason. (For instance, someone writing adult content might not want to have that link represent them when they are just sharing general information with others).

If you are leaving comments on blogs you could always add a link to something else, not a blog. How about a profile on a site where you use the forum, or a dating site? If you have Twitter or another social media site add that as your link/ website. You just need something that gives people a place to find you and give you some feedback too.  Even if it’s just to thank you for the comment.

Also, should you later want to link a blog to yourself you will be known by at least one link where people have followed you in the past.

The End of Cable TV?

For years I have heard predictions that newspapers, magazines and books will fade away as they are replaced with digital media. I’ve protested. I can’t take a computer to bed with me, I don’t even want to. It just wouldn’t be as comfortable as taking a paperback which I can fall asleep with and not worry if it falls out of bed during the night.

Today, thinking about television and the cost of it (over $50 a month for me) I started thinking that all the predictions could be right… but they’ve been looking in the wrong direction. It won’t be print publications that fall to the Internet but the digital signal we watch on our TV screens.

How many people already watch TV shows and movies online, in various ways and means? How simple would it be to just watch everything on the Internet instead of owning a television and paying for cable service along with digital boxes and HDTV and other extras they convince people they just have to have? Would it really be any hardship to watch TV on the Internet? I don’t think so. Usually I only have it running in the background while I’m online anyway, I hardly notice what show is on unless I find one I actually want to watch, the odd time.

Can you debate this, for and against? Come up with 3 points for each side, just for fun.

Evangelist Marketing: Using the Buzz!

I stumbled on the term evangelist used in a job description. It was a first for me. I went on to read more and look it up as a career option too. I did find a job which wanted someone to create buzz for their company using all the social media and other online options. I also read about how some companies embrace the buzz about their products/ services and others intentionally ignore and downgrade it even. (I think they must be stuck in the mud). I also read more about the idea itself, evangelist marketing theory.

From Wikipedia: How to Create customer evangelists?

In their book, Creating Customer Evangelists: How Loyal Customers Become a Volunteer Sales Force, Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba outline six steps to creating customer evangelists:

  1. Customer plus-delta (Continuously gather customer feedback)
  2. Napsterize knowledge (Freely share your knowledge)
  3. Build the buzz (Create intelligent word-of-mouth networks)
  4. Create community (Encourage communities of customers to meet and share)
  5. Make bite-size chunks (Devise specialized, smaller offerings to get customers to bite)
  6. Create a cause (Focus on making the world, or your industry, better)

WebProNews: The Power of Customer Evangelist Marketing

AimClear: The Respectable Social Media Marketing Evangelist

FastCompany: Buzz without Bucks

For that job.. The company wanted someone to run the corporate blog (including creating podcasts), keep an eye out for any mention of the company and it’s products in any kind of web media and then play it up, cater to it. You would be involved in customer feedback and beta testing offline as well.

The right candidate:
• Has a deep knowledge of and passion for technology
• Is one of those “connectors” that makes other people want to follow them
• Has experience with, and passion for, creating and consuming new content types: websites, blogs, podcasts, wikis, etc.
• Is an active blogger (This is a must! – be prepared to show me your stuff)
• Will be the go-to person when it comes to what’s hot and what’s not on the Web.
• Is a self-starter with the willingness, and desire, to “roll up your sleeves” and get the job done
• Has masterful interpersonal, verbal and written communication skills with a juicy Web 2.0 style
• Has the ability to work collaboratively in a team environment
• Might have past experience as technology evangelist- this is a plus!

Word of Mouth Marketing Association

New Journalism?

Where do you fit in on the idea of print versus online media? Do you think the end of local newspapers, radio and television stations is just a sign of the times (changing economy and changing technology) or do you see things differently?

From the Shores of Introspect and Retrospect posted about the closing of the local newspaper in Colorado.

I posted my own comment below:

It’s very foolish to think the “new media” will or can take the place of a published newspaper for an area. For one thing, there are few new media sources which focus on any one area. One person publishers can not be unbiased in their reporting and they can not be everywhere and find the news which a staffed newspaper can.

Also, though few would think it important, the advertising flyers which we rely on to find where the specials are each week. While newspapers are a great source of local events, local business reviews too, let’s not ignore the local sales too. Online media can not offer what a newspaper has to offer.

I think relying on bloggers and new media will not be good for our language skills either. Someone who has not be trained as an Editor or other type of English language professional makes mistakes in spelling, grammar and punctuation. I like to think I am above average but I know I am not perfect. There are mistakes which I make (over and over without knowing) which a professional editor would catch, and fix.

This post is especially hitting home for me as we are seeing the possible end of your local TV station here in Barrie. Mainly a money thing. But, I think money is the symptom of the cause. People are relying on the Internet for news and entertainment. There is less of the market for TV, radio and print than there was before the Internet. But, I don’t think the old forms of media are invalid or no longer needed. Each fills a different need and utilizes the resources for news and communications in different ways.

Tips for Column Writers

The full article and all ten tips can be found at Oon Yeoh, New Media Practioner.

3. Understand opposing viewpoints: Be mindful of the opposing argument. Anticipate objections to your point of view and deal with them convincingly with sound reasoning. If you’re not familiar with the opposing view, you will not be able to argue your points well.

7. Do reporting. It’s possible to write columns without doing any reporting but the best columns typically involve some form of reporting. When you report, you get on the ground and you gain a better sense of what’s really happening. When you write from an ivory tower, it shows.

9. Be passionate: Generally, people don’t like to hear a soft or passive voice when they read a column. So be aggressive – even arrogant, to an extent. People want to see passion. They want to feel energized. If the issue doesn’t seem to excite you, the writer, it’s certainly not going to excite the reader.

Tumblelog: A Snapshot in Each Post

I’ve come across a new plan in the way of blogging. It’s about using simple, short posts and then keeping your blog simple and to the point. Tumblelogs are like creating a snapshot in each post. The overall blog is a scrapbook versus a newspaper or full fledged novel.

Theme Playground had the post I read which includes template reviews. I picked out three to try after the holidays: Artueel, Elite and Tumblelog. If you want to have a tumblelog outside of your usual blog have a look at Tumblr or Gelato CMS to add it to WordPress. I found two other bloggers writing about tumblelogs: Tumblr, a different way to blog and Tumblelogging: don’t think about it, just write.

From Wikipedia: A tumblelog (also known as a tlog or tumblog) is a variation of a blog that favors short-form, mixed-media posts over the longer editorial posts frequently associated with blogging. Common post formats found on tumblelogs include links, photos, quotes, dialogues, and video. Unlike blogs, tumblelogs are frequently used to share the author’s creations, discoveries, or experiences while providing little or no commentary.

Other links of interest:
The Tumblers on Ning Social Network.
Tumblr users on Facebook.
Tumblr Hacks
Tumblr Day but it was only done once, September 2007, so far.

A Rock Star on Vacation

It’s a busy day, you’ve got a thousand errands and people just seem to keep adding to your list of things to do today. As you’re driving from here to there and back to that other here over there… you run over a rock star.

He isn’t badly hurt. But he isn’t looking pretty. As you call 911 he tells you to just hang up the phone and take him back to his hotel. He doesn’t want the media alert. This was supposed to be his vacation and no one knows he is even in town.

So you go back to his hotel. You help clean him up, a few bandages and a little stitch here and there and he seems to be in one piece again. He isn’t really happy though. Not threatening you but acting like a spoiled brat about loss of his vacation time.

You have to promise to give him a week of your time to make it up to him. He doesn’t care about how busy you are. So you agree, kind of stuck with no other option. What do you do with a spoiled, grumpy, wounded rock star on vacation?

Market and Genre Busting

How many different kinds of writing can you think of? Beyond the non-fiction and fiction there seem to be an endless variety of genres and styles and mediums for writers to get into. Everything least thing you read, someone has written.

For non-fiction writers (other than the obvious books and magazines) consider corporate writing (internal employee and external media and client publications), government ministries and bureaus putting out information and campaigns for the public, script writing for TV, movies or theatre, technical writing (specialized information which needs to be written simply into instruction manuals), public relations (speeches, creating slogans, commercials and a public image), and consulting (offering your special expertise).

Fiction writers have a different angle to consider. Look at different publications but consider a different genre. Are you stuck in a rut with your story, turn it into a soap opera instead. Branch out to the style of an old western, science fiction, horror, or make it a mystery. Try poetry, can you narrow down all your thoughts into one short haiku?

Why not try something new? After all that is the best way to beat writers block. If you keep trying new ideas I doubt you will ever feel you can’t write.

Having options is the best revenge.

Members of the Media

In the columnist message boards at BackWash, someone said “Don’t you just love the media.” They meant it sarcastically in reference to how an interview was handled. But, what they didn’t consider is that WE ARE the media.

I think a lot of writers take shots at ‘the media’ and forget to count themselves among them. Do you? Have you thought of yourself as a writer or publisher or member of the media in general today?

Well you are. Each time you put something out there for the masses to read you become the media. We may not all carry cards saying we are writers or publishers or editors, etc. But, that doesn’t mean we aren’t just one more member of the media.

Anyway, the discussion in the boards was about how someone was credited in an article. That is something to consider as you write an article using sources for information such as quotes or statistics. Always make sure you know how your contact sources want to be credited and then do your best to see that it comes out that way in print.

On the other hand, when you are the contact, make sure you tell the writer how you want to be credited. Make sure they have your URL along with your other information. Make sure they know it’s important for your website to be included as part of identifying you as a source of information for the article.

If it comes out in print you can’t do much to change it. You can get them to add it to a future issue but that’s not very useful without the rest of the content of the article. However, if it’s on the web you can get them to update the HTML or text quite easily, it just takes a moment of their time. So there is one more benefit to writing for online publications.

Well, members of the media, that’s it for this week.

Guardian Unlimited: Websites that Changed the World

An article about the mega sites.

1. eBay.com
Founded: Pierre Omidyar, 1995, US
What is it? Auction and shopping site

2. wikipedia.com
Founded: Jimmy Wales, 2001, US
What is it? Online encyclopaedia

3. napster.com
Founded: Shawn Fanning, 1999, US
What is it? File sharing site

4. youtube.com
Founded: Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim, 2005, US
What is it? Video sharing site

5. blogger.com
Founded: Evan Williams, 1999, US
What is it? Weblog publishing system

6. friendsreunited.com
Founded: Steve and Julie Pankhurst, 1999, UK
What is it? School reunion site

7. drudgereport.com
Founded: Matt Drudge, 1994, US
What is it? News site

8. myspace.com
Founded: Tom Anderson and Chris DeWolfe, 2003, US
What is it? Social networking site

9. amazon.com
Founded: Jeff Bezos, 1994, US
What is it? Online retailer, primarily of books, CDs and DVDs

10. slashdot.org
Founded: Rob Malda, 1997, US
What is it? Technology news website and internet forum

11. salon.com
Founded: David Talbot, 1995, US
What is it? Online magazine and media company.

12. craigslist.org
Founded: Craig Newmark, 1995, US
What is it? A centralised network of online urban communities, featuring free classified advertisements and forums.

13. google.com
Founded: Larry Page and Sergey Brin, 1998, US
What is it? Search engine and media corporation

14. yahoo.com
Founded: David Filo and JerryYang, 1994, US
What is it? Internet portal and media corporation

15. easyjet.com
Founded: Stelios
What is it?: Budget airline

So many sites are not here. Whether they were bought out or busted or just didn’t grow enough, there must be a million other sites which had good ideas that didn’t take off. I worked for several pioneer sites which are no longer around. I still volunteer at Dmoz (The Open Directory Project) which has been owned by Netscape and AOL and used by Google and assorted other big and small search engines and web directories. Yet, Dmoz didn’t make this list. It’s too far into the background I would guess. There, but unknown.

I sometimes still write for BackWash which had the concept of presenting the “Internet by personality”. I thought that idea had potential. It did really if you consider the popularity of weblogs. However, the site didn’t grow enough, not enough push to become known so it could rise above the pack. So now it is still there, kind of dwindling, but there like a dinosaur lurking, not ready to give up and yet not having the energy to push itself out into the world any more.

I worked for HerPlanet which was a network of sites for women. That one died off, sort of mysteriously. After years of sticking it out and beginning to build traffic and a following of readers the money supply just ran out. Dottie found a buyer who let her continue to run things, more or less. The new buyer killed HerPlanet. They just never did anything to get the sites back up and online. A year or so later (long after I knew HerPlanet was dead) the domains all became 404, one by one. It was sad. Now and then I check to see if anyone else has begun a site for those domains: HerPlanet.com or HerCorner.com (which was the site I managed) and so on.

What sites do you think could have or should be on this list of world changing sites?