10 Things I Wish I knew When I Started Blogging 10 years Ago


Since the decision to treat my blog like a business a few years ago, I have learned a lot. I see how far bloggers who started the same time I did in 2005- 2007 have come and wondered what were they doing that I wasn’t. I eventually figured it out and had I known back then what I  know now, I would be in a better position today, and be even more successful.

And because I believe in the mantra of “sharing is caring”, I’m going to share my top Ten Things I wish I knew when I became a Blogger 10 years ago for newbies.

It’s in an embedded ebook format because I plan to offer it free to subscribers of this blog in a few days. I just need to fix the formatting and look it over for edits. Let me know if you spot anything. Thanks.

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hard stop rule

Stay on Top of Your To-Do List & Arrive On Time Doing This One Thing

14 (1)

These days, I find myself scrambling and always trying to keep one step ahead of my hectic schedule and was failing miserably.

That is until I diagnosed the problem.

I was going over the time I allotted to complete each task on my to do list for the day and that made me late for my very next meeting or appointment.

I discovered I could keep up with my to-do list and stay on time by adhering to the ‘hard stop‘ rule.

In this super short 3 minute podcast, I share with you what I mean by the “hard stop” and how it will keep you on time and on top of  your day.

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Hashtags for Business & Brands 101


Guest Post

Those Seemingly Inconsequential Hashtags Are Crucial To Gaining More Exposure For Your Brand

Not so many years ago, many people probably paid little attention to that pound sign on the computer keyboard. You know, the one that looks like this: #. 

Then along came Twitter and what we have come to call the “hashtag,” and social media marketing was changed forever.

Yet not everyone takes advantage of hashtags the way they should, and that’s unfortunate because if you are not using hashtags you are missing out on exposure for you and your brand.

When you are on social media sites such as Twitter or Instagram, your goal should be to become part of the conversation. The hashtag allows more people to find your contributions to that conversation. Without them, you miss out on lots of eyes that could be viewing your content.

For example, let’s say 1,000 people follow you on Twitter. Not counting re-tweets, only 1,000 people will see your posts if you don’t use a hashtag.

Add the hashtag, though, and you start picking up momentum because the post has the potential of being seen by, and re-tweeted by, any number of people.

A common hashtag, such as #love, can position your post to be seen by potentially millions of people.

But be warned. While there are great benefits to hashtags, there also are pitfalls. Hashtags don’t come with exclusivity. Anyone can use them, so a hashtag can become a weapon that works both for you and against you. Critics of your brand, or just the usual assortment of Internet trolls, may attempt to hijack your hashtag, putting you or your business in a bad light.

A prime example of a hijacked hashtag happened a few years ago when McDonald’s, apparently hoping for a flattering conversation about the restaurant chain, introduced #McDStories on Twitter.

#McDStories went viral, but not in a good way as the Twitter world had a field day tweeting unflattering tales of their alleged bad experiences with the restaurant.

Don’t let such cautionary tales deter you, though. March boldly into hashtagging, but as you do keep in mind these suggestions for getting the most out of your efforts.

• Use proprietary hashtags. One of the advantages to a proprietary hashtag, such as “Orange is the New Black’s” hashtag #OITNB, is that it is linked directly to your brand. These hashtags typically are not used as widely as a more generic hashtag, but the goal is to brand yourself through the hashtag with the hope it could go viral.

• Don’t overdo it. A post littered with too many hashtags can be difficult to read, so your message might become obscured as your followers see what appears to be gibberish. Perhaps you saw the skit Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon once performed in which they spoofed the device’s overuse by lacing their spoken conversation with seemingly endless hashtags. It was hilarious and annoying all at the same time.

Twitter itself suggests using no more than two hashtags per Tweet. Certainly, three should be the very maximum on Twitter. A different etiquette exists on Instagram, though, and most Instagram followers will tolerate excess hashtags. Meanwhile, although hashtags can be used on Facebook, there’s little reason to include even one. That’s not the way people use that social media site.

• Think geographically. If you are a local company that depends mainly on local clientele, a hashtag that links to your location works well. Hashtags such as #Seattle or #Bangor drop you into numerous conversations about your hometown.

Since social media has become such a vital element of any comprehensive marketing strategy, understanding all of the nuances is critical.

A hashtag may not look like much, but it’s really a powerful tool that is a double-edged sword. If used correctly it can greatly bolster your marketing reach. Used incorrectly, it can have adverse effects or unintended consequences.

With social media, your hashtag is your brand, so use it wisely.

About Jay York

Jay York, senior digital marketing strategist for EMSI Public Relations (.com), an internet marketing expert with extensive experience in social media marketing dating back to the early days of MySpace and LiveJournal. 

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Groups chip away at Heavy Male Tech Scene

This group aims to get 70% female to 30% male attendance and participation rate in its Start Up Weekend event.

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social experiment

How Libraries are Crucial to Underserved Population w/out In-Home Broadband

social experiment

A recent PEW survey found that Public library usage has dropped over the years, but certain populations, in particular Hispanic and African American communities are least likely to want to see their local library close.

When asked how much they would be affected by a library closing, 50 percent of Hispanic respondents said that it would have a “major impact” on them and their families, as compared with 32 percent of all respondents, the Washington Post summarized

Among African Americans, that number was 35 percent.
I live in a very large metropolitan urban town and for the past two weeks, I’ve worked almost exclusively at my local public library, specifically in the computer rooms.

It was a great social experiment as well as it gave me an enhanced appreciation and even further awareness of the importance of public libraries for underserved communities and those who lack in-home broadband access.

During my observations of those who sat around me and sought help from the librarian, I noticed several elderly people using the public computers to apply for social services and other benefits.

Most federal and state benefits offices have moved most of their application processes online, requiring those, including the poor and elderly, who traditionally are least likely to have in-home broadband access to find a way to apply.

There were quite a few job seekers using the computers but not just to apply for positions. Several took online training courses and used the online job bulletins to submit paperwork for positions they already were hired for or had to take certification courses for to get to the next stage in the interview process.

Many simply wanted to access their emails. I helped a few older patrons and even some learning disabled ones get online. Computer skills courses would definitely be a great addition to libraries, as respondents to the PEW study noted. 

Privacy is an issue, however.

Without alternatives for more private access, several computer room users also conducted personal banking and to pay bills or put in requests for lab tests and x-rays.

Fortunately, most library systems are set up to automatically scrub and delete all cookies, files and other personal identifying information left from the previous user at the end of each session. 

Still, it’s not the best place to be submitting sensitive information.

My local library is staffed with patient (mostly) people who take their time to help out struggling patrons.

It even has  a system whereby some users can sign up to have a librarian sit down and fill out crucial forms for them that includes private information in a more secure space and setting.

It also offers 5 free print outs daily, as a courtesy.

I overhead a librarian explain that it makes no sense to nickel and dime some people who are clearly in need, thus the Un-publicized  decision to offer free printing . Indeed!

The PEW Study participants seemed to understand the ongoing value to public libraries that those privileged with in-home access may take for granted. 

WashPo summarized:

“Eighty-five percent of those surveyed said libraries should offer early literacy programs for preschool-aged children; the same amount of people said that libraries should work with schools. Technology education for seniors and online privacy and security education were the next two top activities on the list. Other respondents said that they also look to the library for information on finding jobs, or for programs specifically directed at helping groups such as veterans or immigrants. ”

Nonetheless, overall usage is down.

“Book borrowing has dropped a bit in the past three years, down to 66 percent from the 73 percent Pew recorded with a similar study in 2012. Patrons are also likelier to get e-books from libraries — 6 percent of Americans have done this,” the study said.

I love my local library and it is too bad a local survey found that library usage is down nationwide.

I know for certain that is not the case for the wide swaths of the population still lacking in-home broadband. 


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Tools you Need To Simulcast Shoot Live Streaming Video By Yourself


Are you one of those folks who are very active with Blab, Meerkat, Periscope, YouNow and other popular live video social media apps?

If you are also the type that uses Periscopes to live stream events like I have in the past, realize that you are going to need some simple and low cost tools to ensure your content is stable and the best quality possible.

When I covered the White House‘s first ever Tech Pitch event earlier this year, I made a bold attempt to simulcast it on two platforms: Meerkat and Periscope.

It would be a challenge given that I knew I would be squeezed in a small area in the back where they chorale reporters and members of the press including professional videographers for major networks. 

Where would I and all my tiny devices fit?

Fortunately, I came prepared with reinforcements.

I purchased a small tripod iKross Universal Smartphone / GoPro / Digital Camera Flexible Tripod Stand Holder from It retails for about $39.99 but I got it on sale for $14.95 on

I carried my son’s Android phone with me  which I downloaded the Meerkat app on and signed into my Meerkat account.


I used my iPhone to live broadcast on Periscope. 

I held that one in my hand and tried my best to keep is steady but I also positioned it so I could read comments from audience members and make adjustments if any asked.

I found a space on a bookshelf underneath a fern to set up my tripod an used a tiny bluetooth remote  control, CamKix Wireless Bluetooth Camera Shutter Remote Control for Smartphones.

 I also got on Amazon for a few bucks. 

It was great so I could turn it on and off without having to move the camera too much.

When it was time to start, I simply pressed a couple of buttons and voila, simulcast in action.

The quality  of the final videos was pretty good. 

This set up can be used also for when you are just streaming one event as well and need your hands free but want the ability to control the start and stop as there are some moments that you just don’t need to have streamed.

Hope this is helpful to you other citizen journalists out there like me!

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peace app

Tumblr Founder declares ‘Peace’ with App Developers by pulling his Ad Blocker App

peace app

Knowing very well that close to 90% of apps on the market are ad-supported or based, Tumblr co-founder Marco Arment waged war when he launched a very popular ad blocker app for iOS and Apple products.

Ironically, he called the App “Peace”.

Well, Arment has really called for peace by pulling the very popular app from the Apple Store today! Yay!


From a Guardian article:

Marco Arment, co-founder of Tumblr and creator of the Instapaper reading app, launched Peace on 16 September. The $2.99 app became the bestselling app in Apple’s iTunes store almost overnight.

Peace takes advantage of iOS 9, Apple’s newly updated mobile software, to filter out mobile ads and tracking on other apps and websites. Mobile advertising is the fastest growing sector of the ad business and seen by most publishers as vital to their future finances.

But mobile ads face mounting controversy with their use of “tracking” to follow users and lack of clarity over how people’s personal information is shared.

Web advertising and behavioral tracking are “out of control”, Arment wrote when he launched the app. “They’re unacceptably creepy, bloated, annoying, and insecure, and they’re getting worse at an alarming pace.”

Ad and tracker abuse is an even bigger issue on mobile than on a desktop, he said, where ads are much larger and harder to dismiss, trackers are harder to detect and they slow down page loads, drain battery power and waste cellular data. They are also “increasingly used as vectors for malware, exploits and fraud”.

Critics were quick to highlight that Arment was profiting from an app that blocked others from making money on mobile.

And after witnessing the success of the app Arment concluded that the damage to ad-supported content that would have been affected by the ad blocker was too much.


“Achieving this much success with Peace just doesn’t feel good, which I didn’t anticipate, but probably should have,” he wrote on Friday.

“Ad blockers come with an important asterisk: while they do benefit a ton of people in major ways, they also hurt some, including many who don’t deserve the hit. Peace required that all ads be treated the same – all-or-nothing enforcement for decisions that aren’t black and white … If we’re going to effect positive change overall, a more nuanced, complex approach is required than what I can bring in a simple iOS app.”

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blogger blackmail

Why There is No Such a Thing as #BloggerBlackmail

blogger blackmail

There is no such a thing as Blogger Blackmail, really.

I first saw what I consider a disturbing hashtag ”#BloggerBlackmail” trending the other day.  I actually learned about it from a Social Media London blog post discussing it and offering readers some background detail into how the hashtag came to be.

I presumed, before even reading the article, that it likely had to do with a miscommunication between a brand or merchant and a blogger where the blogger was perceived as asking for a major perk in exchange for favors or a positive review.

I was correct.

We weren’t talking the level of questionable ethics displayed infamously by a travel blogger for a major website who got busted for demanding luxury accommodations and travel from companies in exchange for a possible favorable write up.

Nope, in this case, it appears Bloggers were being maligned, generally, over some macrons! Seriously.

*major side eye*

I was additionally upset to see that the hashtag was being retweeted by PR agencies and public relations professionals with some adding comments in favor of a UK bakery that  had a dispute with a local food blogger.

It’s a situation where it looks like neither side set out the parameters of an agreement, nor had a “meeting of the minds” on expectations in advance before securing the deal.

As a result, you’ve got a pissed off blogger who feels she has been undervalued and a baker who feels she was purposefully dissed in social media because she didn’t agree to let go of 100 pounds of baked goods in exchange for a positive review.

I read the baker’s perspective: that she was contacted unsolicited by the blogger and then, prepped a cute package of samples for the blogger who arrived with an unexpected friend demanding  more, she was not having it.

The blogger assumed that she was entitled to more value in exchange for her time and effort and asked for more than a couple of macrons. When denied, she purchased them herself and then proceeded to trash the product in social media.

Both parties have fault in not clarifying expectations in advance and if the Blogger did indeed speak maliciously as a payback, then that’s wrong on her part.

However, her actions, if determined inappropriate, and the action of a few similar bad actors should not lead to such a libelous hashtag that I believe characterizes bloggers as unethical and immoral. 

Also, it’s my opinion that it is almost impossible for a blogger to truly blackmail a brand or merchant looking for press.

Why do I say this? Listen to my voicenote/podcast below:



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save life

3 Reasons Why a ‘Balanced Life” could Actually Save Your LIfe

one author explains how disregarding the value to a balanced life almost cost her own life and here is why she thinks you should learn from her mistakes

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overexposure in social media

Can you Become an Overexposed Voice in Social Media? (10 Min PODCAST)

When latching on to new platforms, it’s imperative that early adopters not get too excited that they post and update so much they become overexposed and their messages become less valued and diluted.

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