Category: Blogs and Content


Job-hunting is beginning to involve more and more online aspects.  Traditional internet job-hunting aspects, from finding ads online, to using online services, are being over-shadowed by the power of social media, LinkedIn and your Google-quotient.  It seems that more and more, what people can find about you online has more authenticity and relevance than what anybody else can say about you.

This article just confirms that.

If you don’t have an online presence, you won’t appear to be relevant and you will be passed over for more savvy applicants that have visibility. You need to be creative in your job search by developing your own product, eBook, viral video, or personal advertisement.

via 5 Reasons Why Your Online Presence Will Replace Your Resume in 10 years – Dan Schawbel – Personal Branding – Forbes.

I recommend that you find a way to leverage social media and the internet in your own job-search.

 

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Yup.  Building your community online takes some practical effort, and a little knowhow.  Matt Mullenweg describes how…not to go about building an online community.

6 Steps to Kill Your Community — Matt Mullenweg.

Google Appliance as shown at RSA Expo 2008 in ...

Image via Wikipedia

Duplicate content.  What is it?

Your site should have works that are original to the online environment.  If not, you’ll be penalized by Google (in terms of your ranking) — don’t worry, no nun is going to come to your house wearing brightly colored letter-badges and slap you with a “Search now” ruler — but you don’t want to lose your ranking in Google if you can help it.

This is part of being a contributor who shares things with the online world!

A recent change to Google’s algorithm sticks it to duplicate content harder than Google did before.

There were a couple of articles about all this—and one that ironically quotes the other (duplicate content?) here: Google Algorithm Change, Greenlight: Small Business – Technology , and here: Google update cracks down on duplicate content.

I’m bringing this up to remind everyone that the main thing you want to contribute online is good, high quality, unique/original content.  …and I also want to solve a problem I may have inadvertently caused.

A little while ago, I showed a mock-up of a World War II veteran stories website, that was supposed to be a demonstrator to the good folks at the Film Farm, but I neglected to explain duplicate content penalties, and how a real website shouldn’t have content just copied and pasted from Wikipedia.

They recently put out a new post (as I’d urged them to become more regular about content being posted to their site) and they’d followed through with gusto.  However, their latest post, featuring a new type of update that they were going to share—namely videos from their archives.

However, I noticed that a big (more than half) part of their post was a chunk of quoted material from Wikipedia, and I realized that might get them sent in the wrong direction on their search rankings.

Oops!  So, I wrote them an explanatory comment…and then in searching around for more information on this topic, I wrote this article to compile it all here.

LINK BAIT - Tsavo Media

Image by Frank Gruber via Flickr

A couple articles from ProBlogger.com I’ve come across talked about the issue of “Linkbait” …what is that?  I didn’t know when I first heard it—but I guessed, and I did so correctly.

  1. Introduction to Linkbaiting
  2. 20 Linkbaiting Techniques.

These two articles give (1) a basic definition and explanation of the concept/practice, and (2) a list of examples of how to do it (right or wrong) with some of the risks involved.

Linkbait. I think it’s a silly name—a name for really good stuff.

Okay, someone will correct me and say that it can also be really bad stuff…so it’s really “linkable stuff.”
But, it’s really good in the sense that it’s stuff that’s worth having on the internet if someone wants to link to it …it’s worth enough of someone’s time for them to discuss it.  It’s obviously something that someone wants to talk about—but wouldn’t you want to always make blog posts / articles / web-content that people want to talk about?

Linkbait is what you should try to do anyways.

So, what is linkbait?  Well, apparently these two above articles qualify—so the articles about linkbait, were linkbait.

Burning Words: Write them Now!For almost the past month, I’ve been writing, short stories. One per day. My goal: do this for one year, and have not only practiced extensively my craft, but opened new brain maps for success—for thinking of myself as not just a someday writer, but as a definite here-and-now author.  However, something large and exciting is looming:

So, in one hour it begins: NaNoWriMo — The Infamous National Novel Writing Month where pure output beckons, and thousands of would-be writers test their mettle to see if they can make it work and win. The prize? Having accomplished a full first-draft of a 50,000 word novel (novella?).  If you sign up online, you will be one of the official contestants, responsible for writing an average 1,667 words per day, or about 2,000 if you take one day in seven out.  At the end of the process, the honor system prevails with an automated online word-count checker.

Not to take away from the initial goal I had of writing a short story every day, I found this shortest form of short story I could find—the drabble.  It’s technicall one-hunded (100!) words only, which gives you room to pack a punch, but not to mess around. Here’s one piece of machinery that I found very useful, app-wise, when it comes to writing: especially drabbles, but I imagine it will be just as great for 2,000 words a day during NaNoWriMo as well: Write or Die by Dr Wicked.

What is this application?  It’s a very simple online text-enter zone, where you can set some parameters (basic goals for words, time to spend, etc.) and then start typing.  If you fall behind your parameters (your # of words, etc.) then an annoying alarm sounds, and the screen will flash pink, then red.  This warns the dawdling mind that time is up.  Various levels of forgiveness are available, including the military-strength kamikaze mode, which begins to delete your writing after you pass a certain point of slothful not-putting-words-on-paper.

Just do it.  Carpe diem.  Recently, the “classic” movie Back to the Future celebrated a significant anniversary since it’s release date.  The actor who portrayed the time-machine inventor / mad-scientist “Doc” described his character thuswise: as a man engaged in a race against time, someone who had so many ideas, so many thoughts, so much to do, that he simply couldn’t stop.  An apt theme for a main character in a movie about travel through time, no doubt, but it is more than that — it’s a window on how we all should live our lives.  We all have genius to pour out onto this life, good things to do—and so much distraction to waste away the beauty that we could sow upon the world.

Teach me to number my days that I may apply my heart unto wisdom.

-Psalm 90:12

Life is short.  Write fast.  As another sci-fi flick mad-scientist character (Soren, from Star Trek: Generations) said, “Time is the fire in which we burn.”

Write or die.

Just a note: the Write or Die application by one mysterious “Dr. Wicked” came into my personal noosphere (cognitive space, knowledge, awareness) when I was listening to a brand new (to me) podcast:  You can find it on the iTune store under “Tech for Writers” — its content is extremely helpful, and I actually find this podcast to be made of  probably more practicably applicable information than many of the other more “fun” how-to-write shows that I often listen to—the real nuts and bolts of things to use, and the day-to-day physical side of life as a writer is quite bracing herein, and like nothing I’ve seen anywhere else.  Quite the example of the niche.

Roomba‘s and apocalypse: former schoolmate Rachel Zylstra…a musician singer-songwriter with a YouTube channel called “Advice Music.”

Roombas, Captchas and the End of the Age

Roomba Eats People. Enter Captcha.

A song entitled “reckoning (rhetorically) with robots” deals an answer to a tongue-in-cheek query:

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Flavors.Me diagramA solution for small businesses and the personal brandflavors.me? This personal gateway is a single hub for your social media accounts—Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and more, all displayed in a single page, labelled and branded the way you want it.

As more and more businesses are opening up to the idea of using the Internet, its usually social media—the new path of least resistance—that becomes the first place they’ll start.  Often times companies will be more likely to have Facebook pages or Myspace accounts before they’ll have an actual “official” webpage: one thing that builds on this is the fact that the companies out there that are starting often will begin with something like a Facebook page, simply because this is easier than hiring an XHTML, CSS, JavaScript and Design expert to put together a full-on site.

What this means is that information on Facebook and social media sites is often more likely to be accurate and up to date, than “official news” displayed in (print and even) web. Flavors.me comes forward as a place to aggregate that all into a single customizable front-page, and aggregate all that disparate social sharing (like videos, photos, text updates and more) and then put them together, basically as a (or rather the new breed of) official web-page.

So take a look.  There is a rather inspiring gallery of Flavors on their website that include a number of personal/professional and even a few business entries.  One that caught my eye, was a small restaurant from Toronto that was sharing their menu online as well as updates to their ongoing business life and creative cook-ups.  The restaurant was located in my hometown, and as such, their social media was quite effective—my wife and I have decided to try to visit them next time we’re up that way.

MY QUEST IS COMPLETED!

WordPress bloggers, read on: The quest to which I refer is that of a long-standing desire to find a simple way to on-the-spottishly grab some sort of webpage, or whatever cool new thing I came across and quickly throw it into a spot where I could grab it later.  Though I had known about and explored social bookmarking, including a somewhat (but little) used del.ico.us account, I still found myself looking for something more.

That something would be later evolved, in part, into this blog.  Thus the part of the quest that involved storing and sharing the information was then done.
The full-on mission objective that I’m talking about is this: I wanted to have a way to handle all the cool-new things that we were finding online and record, save, store and share them.  The problem with learning so much is that you have to save it, remember it—that’s our job as human beings—we our responsible to remember things that are important.  It’s one of those rare human gifts, perhaps setting us apart from animals and inanimate objects moreso than walking upright, using fire, or any other technology—we are perhaps the only instrument by which a serious, detailed record of the past is imposed on the Universe…

But perhaps a wax philosophic.  I do!

So, anyways, the point of this blog was to save things—save information, and then share them with others, and all the good things that come along with that.  The question then is, now that I have all these things shared, how do I quickly harvest all this low-hanging fruit that I am constantly coming across?

Here’s the solution: the “Press This” button or “add-on” or whatever it’s called.  Apparently, it’s a little do-dad that you can download from the WordPress site, assuming then that you have a WordPress blog and you are using it to keep track of, and share interesting things that may have related how-to sites, wikis, news articles, video-sharing streams, or what-have you online.  Now, if you are, this is a good thing for you to use.

The WordPress how-to site describes it like so:

Use Press This to clip text, images and videos from any web page. Then edit and add more straight from Press This before you save or publish it in a post on your site.

But  more-to-the-point, let me describe it as this: a quick way to grab the “low-hanging fruit” and throw them back into the “blog on this later bin.”  Very cool, and probably obvious—yet, I’m a bit skeptical as to whether or not most people knew about this.  Of course, there were always social-bookmarking toolbar buttons for your browser (which is what this highly resembles) but…nevertheless, this fits well, hand-in-glove, in-fact, with the whole idea of find, save, share.

Yesterday’s post featured a claim that Google-use had been overtaken by Facebooking time.  In other words, the users who search on Google are spending less time doing that than the users of Facebook are spending on that favorite social-media service.

Think about what Facebook hosts already, things primarily that used to be available only elsewhere on the internet:

  • Instant Messaging: With Facebook-chat, one can always catch up with friends online
  • E-mail: Facebook Messages allow one to communicate with one another just like you would with (old-fashioned?) e-mail.  User-to-user long-form messaging is what that’s all about.
  • Content: Growing numbers of Facebook pages/groups are starting to be the go-to options for businesses, even before they have their own professional webpages. Having so many users and contacts all right there to plug in to whatever cause, venture or endeavor you’re doing is just too tempting—especially when compared with the work necessary to get a regular website the type of traffic a Facebook page can potentially get with just a few clicks.
  • Advertising:  Sure, you can buy banner ads on the rest of the regular-old internet, but that old dinosaur (I say tongue-in-cheekly, but with an alarming edge of seriousness) is going the way of the…internet.  Why?  What gives Facebook ads a competitive edge?  Immediately available demographic data for pinpoint accuracy and market targetting.
  • Digg-style Media Sharing:  Yup, you can have…really any kind of media shared on Facebook, from video, to pictures, to text and more.
  • Games, games, games:  I’m surprised that this one didn’t blow the rest of them out of the water—or rather, I wouldn’t be surprised if this one wasn’t the number one reason that Facebook is the one-stop shop for everyone and the number one place for spending time.  Facebook games, which always bring in that social attachment, are highly addictive. FarmTown/FarmVille anyone?

I don’t think that there’s a whole lot more that needs to be said here.  I suppose the only thing that Facebook doesn’t have going for it is a good way to search the internet…oops, they have a Google built-in option for that.  I wonder if time spent using the Google plug-in to search the web (while still in the content-frame/shell of Facebook) counts as time for Google?  Probably not.

Basically, you can do anything on Facebook that you can do on the rest of the internet, but with Facebook’s dynamic social-linking engine, you can do it with your friends.

So why would you go anywhere else?

As promised in my last blog entry, here’s another set of thoughts about blogging. First of all, I noticed that I’ve been reading my stats wrong, and that there’s a build-on effect happening, rather than just a day-to-day single-post popularity contests. Here’s what I mean about all this blogging stuff:

(1) Traffic Stacks: There is a beautiful exponential effect in your blog post traffic.  I had actually been reading my day-to-day traffic updates as if I was only looking at the popularity of each post I had been putting out each day.  However, one of my biggest spikes was on a day when I didn’t post anything!  Eventually I realized the obvious—my blog post traffic is taking off because more and more, there are a greater and greater number of posts/articles on my site to be read!

(2) Not all traffic is human:  Though I can’t speak to whether there is a WordPress anti-spam filter within their own system that filters these out—I do know that there

Scraper site snippet for one of my blog posts

Here is a scapper-site snippet

are various “spiders” (automate programs that surf the web for various reasons) that do visit sites… At least, I’m assuming that these are spiders…but apparently some of my content got scooped up by a “scraper site” which really seemed to be an aggregator of various blog content, my article being one of them.  It was at this point that I let out a small cheer (first scraping!) and then took a screenshot.

(3) Some topics are hot all the time.  You are probably guessing that Google is a pretty hot thing to be searching for—so, here’s my tip for your blog success—find some niche topic to blog on, and you’ll get some interesting ongoing traffic, provided your niche is one with definite popularity—it can be a wide niche to start, and then you may want to narrow in.  I could be wrong.  What do you think?

Write back in the comments field to let me know more about what your opinion is.

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