Tip – Using Social Networking Wisely

Glenda made a very interesting comment yesterday, she was asking “to see a strategy on how we can effectively use and integrate these tools without them becoming great time and focus eaters”.

Every one has their own way of coping. Well, social networking is no different. Interesting enough, there are people who do not network at all. So, contrary to popular belief, social networking is not a universal truth, hermits aside. But I would like to share a tip on how you can use social networking and keep your sanity:

Choose one.

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? More is not necessarily better. If you are a member of multiple social networks, what usually happens is, you are a “fringe member” on most of them. Your name is on the list, but I doubt if you are on their minds.

Participate in several different networks. Find one that meets your needs. This means, are you comfortable there, can you promote your business there, or whatever it was that you wanted to accomplish. Narrow it down. If you are happy and comfortable with more than one, fine. But remember that participation is key. And participation can be a time sink you might come to regret.

I would love to hear how all of you are using social networking and what your tips are to make it effective and manageable. Maybe this could become a meme of sorts – but I would love to hear from Glenda, Angela, and Laura.

[tags]blog, social network, tips[/tags]

Holiday Blogging Awards…

Remember this? Well, I have looked at a few of the sites and there are some really nice posts out there!

These are just 3 of the posts that touched me. The others are nice too, but these seem to speak to me:

http://didisignonforthis.blogspot.com/2007/12/day-of-tree.html
http://thezenofmotherhood.blogspot.com/2007/12/generous-december-and-christmas-miracle.html
http://setxbayou.blogspot.com/2007/12/ladder-guy-view-from-edge-of-christmas.html

Which one do you like? Head on over to MomGadget.com to see the contest.

[tags]blogs, bloggin, christmas, contest [/tags]

Do we understand context and point-of-view?

There is a difference, you know, between speaking and communicating. But many people, while they are aware of this, I mean, any 101-class you attend will tell you that; yet it is difficult sometimes in practice.

Context and point-of-view are very important when communicating. My thirteen year old daughter gave us an object lesson in that yesterday. When Mommy “corrected” her “… you should use, ‘when I was younger’ and not ‘when I was small’…” she immediately came back with a re-joiner –

“I am STILL young today, so, I was ‘smaller’ then.”

Context and Point-of-View. Now, who would have thought…

Holiday Blogging Awards 2007

Well, if you have been blogging for a while, and you are still at it, then you must really love it. So, why not test your mettle against the best on the web and take part in the Holiday Blogging Award 2007 competition?

There are three categories that you can participate in:

Best Holiday decoration of a Blog – Any blog or blogger who has decorated their blog for the holidays either entirely or in an subtle way. Prize: $20 USD via Paypal and links from channel blogs.

Best post about Christmas on a Blog – The best posting about Christmas or holiday activities on a blog. It can be religious or non-religious, but should celebrate the spirit of the season. Prize: $20 USD via Paypal and links from channel blogs.

Best Holiday image or video on a Blog – The best display of your own personal holiday decorations on a blog. It can be religious or non-religious, but again, should celebrate the spirit of the season. Prize: $20 USD via Paypal and links from channel blogs.

I have been invited to be a judge for these awards, so please… be nice to me! :)

[tags]blog, blogging, holiday blogging[/tags]

Off Topic – Echoes through your life…

The other day, my son was telling us a joke about “wives”. Which was funny enough in and of itself, since of course, me and my wife were married, he was not. But anyway, there he was, talking about how you need to have two tongues to be a mommy because you had to yak, yak, yak…

Suddenly, he stopped and made a very astute observation about married life, “Oh, and you have to live with that for the rest of your life.”

So I told him, he was wrong. Women did not need two tongues to yak yak yak. They just need to say it once, and it echoes for the rest of your life. In yet another stroke of incredible insight, he blurted, “I do!”

[tags]marriage, mommy, mothers, nagging[/tags]

Do “Long Headlines” Work on TV?

With the Internet and all the online marketing talk going around, it seems that the fun has been taken out of writing short, punchy headlines. There was a time, once, when writing silly headlines was the “in” thing. Then there were those surreal headlines that left everyone scratching their heads and consulting their oracles. Then along came the Internet with its “This is not a headline that works unless it occupies a significant amount of white space and tells you the whole story” type of headlines.

Actually, long headlines do work, online. But I saw a long headline on a TV commercial recently. Very interesting. The ad was running on television, so it was a short, 30 sec commercial. Half of that was a headline, in text that asked: “Would you like to Quit Your Job and still live comfortably for one year?” I cannot remember the full thing, but that was the gist of it. I was caught by “Would you like to quit your job…” But I thought nothing of it till it flashed a second time: “Would you like to Quit Your Job and live comfortably for one year, and enjoy caviar everyday?”

I, of course answered, “Hell, yes!”

Reality’s a bitch. I don’t like caviar. But then, I realised that for the first time in quite a while, I actually noticed a TV commercial that was neither funny, fun, quirky, high octane or contained any of those fancy stuff.

So, as I thought about the significance of this insignificant moment in my life, I realised one thing – long headlines DO work.

Does it Matter What kind of Blogger are you?

Here is an interesting one. I picked this up over at Char’s blog where she was asking Fun Friday Quiz – What Kind of Blogger Are You?.

So, being the naturally born curious person, and of course, in the interest of research, I took the Quiz.
What Kind of Blogger Are You?

So, I have no idea what it means to be a Purist, Expert, Socilite. But I am guessing that it is telling me that I sure know how to blog well and I get along with other bloggers, but I think it is hinting that I have no clue how to make my blog cough up cash! That’s the “purist” part, I believe.

So what? Give it some thought. If you are going online, why? What is your purpose online and what exactly was it that you wanted to achieve?

When you open your doors for business, it is inconceivable that you have no idea what you are selling, why you are selling it and who will be buying, right? So, don’t do the same for your online presence. It has an impact on your business. If you have no idea why you are blogging, but you love it anyway, that is fine. That is your purpose – to blog. But if you had a business objective or have been driven online by commercial considerations, then it behooves you to be clear. What kind of blogger are you?

[tags]blogs, blogging, writing, online business, marketing[/tags]

Text Links, Contextual Meaning and Your Users

I did not expect this to be so interesting a discussion when I penned the my post “What does SEO and clicking links got in common?” based on Phil’s “Click Here – It’s Not About SEO!” post. But for sure, it is a fascinating topic at several levels.

Indeed, the Web has moved on from the early days where “clicking” and “double-click” were terms that could get you kicked into the Geek Room. Like Yucca Korpela stated in his article – “Why “Click here” is bad linking practice“, assuming that users did not know what to do when encountering a link is no longer a valid argument. He went on to illustrate the useless-ness of “click here” with examples of browsers that automatically generates a list of links. Frankly, I have no idea why anyone would want to do that, but then again, some people actually eat their greens; so…

Referencing Yucca’s article might not be very relevant in 2007 as it was written in 2002. Five years is eternity in Internet time. I believe that today, “click here” is no more or no less a phrase that can be used by anyone. Just like “take this” or “take that”.

Somehow, I still get the feeling that we are all approaching this from an extremely mechanical, technical point of view. After all, we do not communicate with each other in keywords. Nor do normal people talk in sound bites. So, if “click here” taken out of context means nothing, so what? I can think of a million words taken out of context to mean nothing… or a lot.

“Take this.” – what? a punch? present? $100?
“Oh, lovely.” – what? someone left pooh on the floor? your neighbour’s dog? new dress?
“Grab it!” – ok, I will not go there…

But I hope that I made my point. Any phrase, no matter how meaningful in context, means nothing out of it. “Click here” is not the problem. Taking things out of context is. Some claim that “click here” looks silly on paper. Well, it certainly should. Grab a newspaper, oh ancient one!

If I were to be asked to write an article, I think one of the first things that I would need to know is – who is asking me to write it. If the Wall Street Journal asked me to write a piece for their front page, I certainly won’t say “click here”. But if MSN featured my article on their web site, I will send an email to the whole world and scream “CLICK HERE!!!”

In the end, it is the communications that has to take place. Whether or not you choose to use “click here” or some other anchor text, it should be within reasonable flow of your piece. Many times, there will be better alternatives. But there will be times when you just want to tell people “Now that you know – CLICK HERE!”

What do you think?

[poll=6]

[tags]SEO, contextual links, user interface[/tags]