NEW TOOLS

5 Tips for Driving Traffic to Your Blog

woman-relaxed-reading-tablet-happy-female-model-ipad-bed-relaxing-410169591.    Consistently publish interesting content

  • Plan your posts to appear at regular intervals
  • Create an editorial calendar and pre-schedule topics and themes
  • Use images, videos, quizzes & questions, and judicious reblogging to keep your reader interested

2.    Make sure you have a SUBSCRIBE feature

  • Display it prominently on your blog, sidebar or footer
  • Collect emails and add them to your master list
  • Understand the difference between “subscribe” and “Follow”
  • Explore the WordPress Reader and Follow other WP blogs, ask them to follow you.

autosharing

3.    Automate your blog to post to your Social Media accounts

Use the Publicize settings found under SETTINGS/SHARING/PUBLICIZE
Also encourage your readers to use Social sharing with available buttons
found under SETTINGS/SHARING

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Google+
  • And more

4.    Promote your blog in your email marketingconstant-contact-stacked

5.    Maximize Social Media impact

    • Post to relevant pages & groups on Facebook et.al.
    • Use an automated scheduling tool like Tweetdeck, HootSuite, Buffer to repeat social media mentions
    • Take advantage of reblogging offers and special #hashtags and events on Twitter

A Pesky Problem that Prevents Progress!!

What would that be, you ask? If you had to guess, would you conclude:

Passwords? #!%&*@*!?

In my work with brilliant clients from many fields there is no more aggravating, yet no more predictable headache than that lost, forgotten, or mis-remembered password.

Before you explain why it happened last time, let me assure you:

It’s Not Your Fault


preventableRead that again.
Passwords are hard. Security is tricky. It’s annoying, and it’s always changing. Yesterdays password is not okay today. Last February I posted this helpful comic by xkcd, and although there is now some dispute about how secure the method really is, it’s still the best way to create your own strong yet memorable password.
Remember, we’re not preventing a person from guessing our passwords. Humans aren’t the threat. Machines are able to guess zillions of  word and number combinations in seconds, and your passwords need to stand up against that.

For the ultimate in secure passwords, AND if you’re a math geek or into puzzles, go read about Diceware Passphrase Handbook. It’s a fascinating discourse and tutorial about creating the strongest possible passwords. But, as interesting as this all is it’s not workable for most users. So what to do?

You Need a System

Which is why I am now going to pitch an actual product, something I seldom do. I use 1Password from AgileBits. It’s installed on my desktop, laptop, tablet and phone, it communicates through DropBox, so every device gets up-to-date information. With the hundreds of pwords I wrangle it’s saved my hair a lot of wear & tear.

It works by generating hard-to-crack pwords under one master password. I strongly recommend this for all my clients, and I will set it up for you for a small fee.

Why? because I see in my daily work how we lose so much time when we are stymied by our own passwords!! This is a very preventable form of suffering. Set yourself up with one master password that can unlock every account you need security for, which is all of them. Then finding that code is a few seconds instead of long minute getting off track.

Choosing a System

Please check out the available products and see what works for you, and/or call me to set up your password system on multiple devices. This is the trickiest part. If you expect to take an hour or so tinkering to get your master and devices all linked, and you utilize the online help available, you can certainly do it yourself.

Lifehacker has a good list HERE.  PC Magazine’s more extensive comparison is HERE

Or, go purchase 1Password, and tell ’em I sent you.


As usual please share your experience and opinion in a comment! And share this blog with anyone who would find it useful.

Are You Blogging for Business?

The democratization of media empowers us all to be publishers, if we choose,  of everything from top 10 lists to serious think-pieces for your industry.

Blogging has evolved to become an essential marketing tool. In fact, businesses that blog get 67% more leads than those who don’t.

Publishing valuable content on a consistent basis positions you as a source of solutions, and helps prospects understand what you do.

If you haven’t waded into the blogging stream, it’s easy to get started without a huge investment of time and money. I often recommend that you start with a free WordPress.com blog (it can be linked to your site) because of the huge universe of WordPress bloggers who read, comment and reblog each other.

There are simple ways to leverage your blog posts across social media to boost impressions and feedback. If you’d like more suggestions, leave a comment, ask a question or get in touch.

Click here for 5 types of blog posts that have proven performers: 5 Breeds of Posts to Promote Your Business 

 

Fonts These Days!

This Chart gave me some laughs…

click for larger image

But seriously, fonts these days!! For us old-timers, we’ve lived through pixelated, then Postscript fonts. Then came utilities to help us manage the technical and artistic confusion: Suitcase and Adobe Type Manager.   TrueType and OpenType came along trying to simplify how software and printers processed font data.

Today we have Google fonts and all their digital cousins, and an open-source bonanza of new fonts, free and for hire.

How do you manage your fonts?

Here’s an article that reviews a number of options from Spoon Graphics. I’m looking forward to exploring some of these in more detail.

I have been relying on Font Book for a while now, and longing for something that would let me use a limited set for every day but ‘go shopping’ for styles and font faces by category when I needed them. I plan to try the free version of Font Explorer to see if it might help, and I’ll report in.

But I really want to hear from you. Let me know what font managing solutions have worked for you, or if you try any of these recommendations, how they work out.

 

US Lagging in Broadband Access

The US Ranks 16th Among Developed Nations for Broadband Penetration

Data Suggests It Will Continue to Fall Behind

From BROADBAND NOW: According to the 2013 analysis by the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) an international organization designed to stimulate world trade, the US now ranks 16th (down from 14th in 2010) for wired broadband penetration behind Korea, Canada, and New Zealand.[1]While there are several factors that can skew these statistics such as geography and population density, the problem of the US falling behind in broadband penetration is only exacerbated by inadequate competition.

Based on further data collected by the OECD, the US now ranks 24th out of 31 participant countries when it comes to the speed as which broadband penetration is increasing. [2]

Change in broadband penetration across OECD countries between 2010 and 2013.
Rank Country Penetration 2010 Penetration 2013 Percent Change
1 Switzerland 37.1% 43.82% 6.71%
2 Greece 18.71% 24.7% 5.99%
3 France 31.4% 36.99% 5.58%
4 New Zealand 24.49% 29.45% 4.95%
5 United Kingdom 30.48% 34.89% 4.41%
6 Portugal 18.92% 23.15% 4.22%
7 Finland 26.36% 30.46% 4.1%
8 Belgium 30% 33.99% 3.99%
9 Hungary 18.66% 22.25% 3.59%
10 Czech Republic 13.73% 17.02% 3.29%
11 Germany 31.26% 34.53% 3.26%
12 Slovak Republic 12.02% 15.16% 3.14%
13 Spain 22.22% 25.3% 3.08%
14 Ireland 20.31% 23.31% 2.99%
15 Canada 30.06% 32.84% 2.78%
16 Austria 22.96% 25.64% 2.67%
17 Korea 34.43% 37.05% 2.62%
18 Chile 10.21% 12.75% 2.53%
19 Poland 13.07% 15.44% 2.37%
20 Denmark 37.34% 39.69% 2.35%
21 Norway 34.24% 36.59% 2.34%
22 Netherlands 37.78% 40% 2.21%
23 Australia 23.43% 25.64% 2.2%
24 United States 27.11% 29.27% 2.15%
25 Iceland 33.28% 35.12% 1.84%
26 Mexico 10.09% 11.87% 1.78%
27 Japan 26.28% 27.83% 1.55%
28 Turkey 9.43% 10.66% 1.23%
29 Italy 21.32% 22.41% 1.09%
30 Sweden 31.75% 32.33% 0.57%
31 Luxembourg 34.11% 32.65% -1.47%

References and Footnotes

  1. 2013 Data Set: http://www.oecd.org/sti/broadband/1k-BBPenetration-GDPperCap-2013-06.xls
  2. 2010 Data Set: http://www.oecd.org/sti/broadband/39574903.xls

5 Ways to Reap Social Media Value

Here are five useful ways of thinking about social media and it’s potential to empower your business.

IBM’s ambitiously-titled Center for Applied Insights ran a study and produced this video that brings focus to five key areas where Social Media creates value for business.

Most of us marketers are pretty familiar with #3, but the other four concepts have loads of potential.

Many of us who are virtual workers miss the spontaneous collaborations in the hallway, elevator, water cooler. The creative power of quick collaboration opens up new ways for those sparks to travel. How can you use your social network to:

  • Collaborate with colleagues you don’t just ‘run into’ anymore?
  • Reach out to encourage and support less experienced team members?
  • Inspire customers to get more value from your products?
  • Source expertise from all your communities – users, colleagues, prospects and maybe even competitors?
  • Create new avenues of feedback and improvement?

Share an example in the comments of how your business benefits from Social Media.

Creativity as Dialog

According to the New York Times, we are watching the end of the lone genius. I’ll be the first to agree that the isolated creative is a myth that has outlived its usefulness. Too many depictions of a tormented Vincent Van Gogh, a drunken and depressed Hemingway, even Newton as the singular discoverer, who was building on the work of others.

An article by Joshua Wolf Shenk in today’s NYT, The End of Genius, deftly unwraps the modern construct of our mythical loner. (Shenk writes more about the brilliance of creative pairs in the Atlantic, HERE.) The word originally meant “a tutelary god or spirit given to every person at birth” – a Muse as it were. In our modernity we have apparently absorbed this creative god and ascribed its qualities to our individual selves.

 

Now the creative network is emerging as a more useful model of the process.  Certainly  the internet and virtual communication has enhanced our ability to collaborate in teams and groups. We have crowd-sourced encyclopedias, music written and produced by partners who have never met, and ease of collaboration via the media that gives us instant contact.

Of course, this is nothing new.  All creative work builds on what came before. But we are  thinking about this differently. We’re evolving the way we inhabit our creative identity.

So let’s talk about it:

  • Do you work with a creative partner?
  • Do you use technology to collaborate?
  • Does the media influence your creative product?

 

The “Selfie” Phenomenon

While the self-portrait has a long and venerable place in the history of art, the democratization of media in our young century collided with our first-world self obsessions to create a robust trend.   Chosen by the OED in 2013 as Word of the Year, “selfie” has charged into the English language with remarkable vigor.

The first recorded use of the hashtag #selfie took place on Flick in 2004, but the word didn’t really catch on until 2012. Since then, the use of ‘selfie’ on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram has exploded, growing by over 17,000 percent.

Consider these stats:

selfiestats

Click on the above to see the whole graphic, which is chock-full of amazing selfie info!

Now we have smart phones specifically designed for taking selfies, including this one from SONY, who created the info graphics in this blog.

And feel free to post your favorite selfie in the comments below.

Here’s my latest favorite:

I grow broccoli, therefore I am.

The Current Media Conversation on Misogyny

News-Fueled Media Conversation

(warning: many of the links in this post go to articles that contain disturbing content about violence and murder.) 

The mediaverse always reverberates with opinion after a major news cycle, and certainly in the wake of that peculiarly American spectacle, the mass-shooting. We of course have have the predictable “It’s not about guns!” verses “It’s all about guns!” debate, and I won’t get into that one, for now. But the media conversation around men, women and misogyny since the May 23rd shooting in Santa Barbara is notable for it’s intensity and momentum.

Social and online media played a role in the life of the shooter, Elliot Rodger, whose YouTube video (now taken down) claims that it’s

“an injustice, a crime” that women have never been attracted to me and that I am going to “punish you all for it” and “slaughter every single blonde slut I see.”

Rodger’s online hangout space reveals chilling conversations by men bitterly describing themselves as  “involuntarily celibate” and aiming violent hate speech and threatening statements directed at females. There are hundreds of similar sites in the ‘manosphere’, “a cyber-universe fueled by distorted views of women and sex, in which lonely, isolated and disaffected young men, unable to live up to equally distorted notions of manhood, end up turning lack of self-worth into an anger directed at women.”

Not surprisingly a loud, clear feminist response developed to the Santa Barbara shooter’s evident violent misogyny. This surge of powerful communication is still mobilizing hashtags, tumblrs and blogs, all of which keep driving the press to keep the story moving.

Twitter: #Yes, ALL Women.

This Twitter hashtag #YesAllWomen sprang from the inevitable debate about sexual violence  that followed the recent shooting. A male protests: “All men don’t harass or threaten women!”  to which a feminist Twitter user replied: “Fine, but ALL women have experienced sexual violence or the threat of sexual violence.”

This woman created the hashtag #YesAllWomen and asked women to respond and share stories. Within a week, she had to remove her name from the project and close her account, due to the volume of death and rape threats that she received.

Tumblr: When Women Refuse

Media pro Deanna Zandt created a Tumblr page called When Women Refuse and invited everyone to post their stories of women threatened, injured or killed by sexual violence.  Post after post describes real life stories of women subjected to violence after they rejected the sexual advances of men — when they refused to flirt with them, dance with them, go on a date with them, or have sex with them. Reading it is a stomach-churning experience. A woman attacked with acid. A pregnant teenager stabbed to death. A woman raped and beaten. Women smashed in the head with bowling balls and glass bottles.

World Media Coverage of Misogyny

India is in the news once again this week after the brutal gang rape and murder of two young girls. Women protesting the lack of official action against rape and violence against women were dispersed by hundreds of officers and water canons.

Although a highly publicized case in 2012 energized support for tougher laws, outside of major cities police often refuse to investigates complaints of crimes against women. Records show a rape is committed every 22 minutes in India, though it’s considered drastically underreported, but more people are speaking up against violent crimes targeting women, and public protests against police inaction are increasingly common.

In Pakistan the recent stoning death of 25-year old Farzana Parveen launched a worldwide  wave of conversation about so-called ‘honor killings.’ Hashtag #Faranza made public “a crime that not long ago would barely have elicited a headline was now a source of conversation and consternation among those on social media both within and outside Pakistan. And discussion about the slaying turned up another grim fact: Iqbal told CNN he killed his first wife so he could be free to propose to Farzana.”

In Nigeria the campaign to return the girls kidnapped April 14 from Chibok school to their families has reached wide audiences with the help of the twitter campaign #BringBackOurGirls. Protestors rallying under that name in Abuja, Nigeria apparently rattled the Police High Command, who attempted to outlaw the protests June 2, but public pressure, no doubt including world-wide media attention, caused a quick turn-about and  as of June 3 an official statement denying any protest ban was issued.

Making a Difference?

Clearly, blatant violence against women is more likely to be reported, shared via social media and gain the attention of activists and citizens who might take action.  The conversation is disturbing, but is instigating awareness and motivating people, people who can change laws and prevent violence.

Home, Home On the Line

(source unknown)

You can make a home on the Internet and be seen there, but you cannot arrive there. Home on the Internet can only be a point of departure.

I found this quote in a meandering essay on yearning at ribbonfarm.com, a blog by Venkat dedicated to ‘refactored perception.’ (Read more than you ever wanted to know about that here.) Venkat is a voracious reader, thinker and polymath, cross-pollinating the worlds of business, information science, literature and history.

What I found fascinating was his validation of the online world. He doesn’t dismiss it as a flickering, twittering distraction but sees it as a genuine realm of existence:

When you first explore the online world, with your feet firmly planted offline, it can seem ephemeral and insubstantial. But once you tentatively and gingerly plant your feet online, it is the offline world that starts to seem ephemeral and insubstantial. The world of offline-first people (or worse, offline-only) seems like a world of people living lives without real views.

Where there was once was a simpler form of media-blindness – folks who didn’t read the news, or visit the library, for instance, now there is a vast ocean of evolving media conversations to parse. AND participate in.

Because home is not the locus where you live your life, but the locus from which you make sense of it. Home is a place that supplies a stable perspective on the world and your place within itHome is a place from which you can properly experience a life with a view, without censorship, without having to make up narratives about the superiority of your little local world.

So amid this pulsing, flickering universe of conversations, we can behold the universe and find our threads within it. The universe of the imagination has become more of a shared realm. What we once accomplished through books, we can now pursue in tweets, posts, images, articles, ebooks, videos, comments, message boards, and the many clever means of sharing the internet offers us.

This may all sound a bit over the top, but fly with me for a moment here. We have the Library of Alexandria at our fingertips. A Facebook image I saw the other day put it this way:

If someone from the 1950s appeared today, what would be the hardest thing to explain?

“I possess, in my pocket, a device capable of accessing the entirety of man’s knowledge. I use it to take pictures of cats and get into arguments with strangers.”

If we value the life of the mind that we have built from our education, from our reading life, from the culture of readers, writers and thinkers who have come before us, why wouldn’t we want to explore, share, and contribute in these fields of knowledge?

We can all do some amazing work with the tools we have in hand, while we create the next wave of even more miraculous ones.