These days, many business owners realize that implementing a digital campaign is a great way to enhance visibility, optimize conversion, and keep their companies growing. However, many of these business owners do not know what systems and strategies…
Yesterday, one of the original blogebrities, Necole Bitchie (real name Necole Kane) announced that she was leaving the blogging business and will cease running her popular site of the same name.
She says her decision to leave had to do with her internal struggle to be an inspirational leader for young women while running a salacious gossip blog.
Kane wrote in her final post today, titled ”It’s Time For Me To Move On “:
There is a constant internal struggle between being a character –Necole Bitchie—when I walk out in public, and being the women I know I was meant to be. Eventually, I began feeling like I wasn’t doing enough and I would never reach my goals. I felt stuck! I felt boxed in! No matter how much success people thought I had, or how many pageviews our stories generated, I felt as though I was regressing. There was also a constant struggle of what I thought my audience wanted to see (salacious tea), and what I wanted to post (Inspirational women interest stories.’) I was so exhausted from fighting that battle, that I literally felt defeated and I mentally gave up.
The Cambridge, Maryland native persevered virtual homelessness, rejection in her pursuit to enter the entertainment industry and the loss of her dad, then her mom at age 16. She managed to turn a hustle she resorted to when she couldn’t find a job into a media empire covering celebrities, dishing gossip, and breaking news and musical artists. Her popular blog would eventually net millions of viewers weekly.
Kane became a celebrity in her own right and has been featured and profiled on Huffington Post, Baltimore Sun, LA Sentinel, Centric, Cosmo, Ebony. She even won Soul Train Award.
At a time when mainstream sites like Perez Hilton and Just Jared rarely featured celebrities of color and ignored the urban market altogether, Kane stepped in to fill the void. Like a student, she studied Perez’s business model and style.
She launched her own blog parody name which is a spin off of the name Nicole Richie, the daughter of Lionel Richie who then was popular and starring in a reality TV show with Paris Hilton at the time.
The market was ripe and eventually she would be making six figures just from ads on her blogs…just like her muse Perez, but off a demographic he ignored.
Over time, the celebs she once covered would be offering her exclusives and inviting her to join the media team on their world tours.
I met her at a Blogging While Brown blogging conference I spoke at a few years ago. She headlined along with a few other blogebrities. Despite the fame, Kane appeared to still be quite humble even as other conference attendees crowded around her for photos and autographs.
She kept it real and spoke about losing her voice as a blogger when she became too famous, and overcoming being sued by a photography company and sacrificing her social life to bring her readers the latest celebrity gossip and photos. She was honest and forecoming and the 100+ bloggers in the audience appreciated her candor.
My sister, also a blogger, met her at an event Kane hosted in DC years earlier and after that referred to Kane as her “Fairy Blog Mother.” I think even in her photos, my sister mimics Kane’s signature pouty lipped selfies and portraits.
Just like my sis, many others appreciated Kane’s trailblazing role in paving the way for bloggers, especially young women, bloggers of color and other “no-bodies” who dared to jump online, speak their mind, show off their talent, chronicle their lives, curate interesting stories and in the process, establish a lot of influence over dozens, hundreds, thousands and for some, millions of audiences.
Back in the early years, bloggers weren’t respected at all by publicists, celebrities, politicians, the public and main stream media outlets. Sure we had the conscious bloggers who blogged politics or pop culture and had a faithful yet small set of loyal readers. They blogged to engage their audiences not to make money or make a career out of it.
Kane saw the potential and went another route & soon her empire grew to include a web channel (Bitchie TV), lifestyle site (Bitchie Life), T-shirt line (Born Bitchie) and her personal blog, (iamNecole).
Today, she boasts followers in the millions across several social media platforms.
Others who came after, watched her success and were inspired to follow in her footsteps. If a 20-something young woman who looked like me could do that, why not me, many have thought.
Fast forward 7 years and we’re in a new world where bloggers shape the news cycle, break big news stories that are later picked up by established news outlets.
Indeed, many more of us are much appreciated and respected for our role in the mass and social media.
Today, the President of the United States is doing exclusive interviews with YouTube stars that he doesn’t grant to mainstream reporters.
Instagram models and Instagram celebrities are earning more than top Runway models.
Brands are paying popular Viners to promote their products in 5-7 seconds increments.
YouTube gamers like PewDiePie are netting more weekly viewers than some broadcast TV shows.
Reality TV stars are clamoring to be mentioned or covered in gossip blogs.
Major cable networks are quoting random popular Tweeters and embedding their comments in their stories
2016 Presidential candidates are streaming their first campaign rallies on Periscope.
News outlets daily are quoting random popular people on Twitter as well and embedding their status updates in social media in their stories as support and sources .
In sum, gone are the days when the average man on the street or the rising mom blogger or average contributor on social media site was not considered credible, and were readily dismissed.
Granted, many still look down on bloggers and some journalists can’t stand the fact that bloggers carry so much weight and are so influential without having to follow all the rules of traditional journalism like having to write in AP style, be neutral and cite original sources.
Nonetheless, the new digital era was paved by people like Necole Bitchie who dared to dream big.
In a 2011 Black Enterprise magazine feature that asked her how she measures success, Kane said:
How many people I inspire and motivate everyday. When I first started working with my publicist Christina one of my main things was even if I did interviews and get in magazines I don’t want to get into them just to say, “Hey, look what I did with my blog.” I really wanted the person reading to know the back story and the struggle and the obstacles I had to overcome to even get here in three years, so every time someone comes on Twitter and says, “Girl, I just read your story and you inspire and motivate me,” that’s how I measure my success, not by how much money I make or how many people read the site.
She did and has inspired.
For that I, and others in the game, thank her for her role in history and wish her well on her next endeavors.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has said publicly that “diverse staffs”perform better than non-diverse ones and that his company is making an effort to disproportionately hire more women and minorities to ensure there is racial and gender diversity in his social media company’s workforce.
Facebook released its EEO Report filed last Thursday which revealed how much of a racial imbalance there is in that company, and how far it has to go to achieve Zuckerberg’s goal.
The report summarized its 2013 racial and gender workforce breakdown, which shows comparatively its 2012 numbers.
For example, in 2013, Facebook only hired 7 new black employees out of 1,231 new hires.
Only one was a black woman.
The percentage of all women also dropped from the previous year by 1%.
Meanwhile, the representation of Hispanics and Mixed Race employees remained at 4 and 3% respectively.
In sum, those new hire numbers bumped up the total number of black females employed at Facebook to 11 and male to 34 that year compared to the previous year.
Then and now, none in the companies executive and senior management positions is black.
That’s pretty pitiful for a company that boasts 1.4 billion users, most of whom are people of color if you include users from around the world.
Notwithstanding these deplorable numbers, Facebook’s Global Head of Diversity Maxine Williams responded to the report:
“We need a team that understands and reflects many different communities, backgrounds and cultures. Research also shows that diverse teams are better at solving complex problems and enjoy more dynamic workplaces. So at Facebook we’re serious about building a workplace that reflects a broad range of experience, thought, geography, age, background, gender, sexual orientation, language, culture and many other characteristics.”
Hmm… I think I’ve seen this explanation before…
ah yes, it sounds eerily like a previous post I had done discussing the ways companies explain the absence of racial diversity among their workforce.
Number one reason given is “We describe diversity differently.”
And these words in essence came from a woman I’m sure is talented, capable and confident at what she does, but who sadly represents the #2 way companies with a diversity deficit wrongly attempt to fix it: they place a minority person to serve in a position like, “Senior Vice President of Diversity and Talent” or “ CEO of Diversity and Talent Recruitment” with expectation that this person will diversify the staff.Um…
Zuckerberg himself has offered that stale excuse of blaming it on the fact that minorities and girls “self-select” out of doing computer science education.
“It’s this problem because it’s not even clear where you would start attacking it,” he said at a public forum last year. “You need to start earlier in the funnel so that girls don’t self-select out of doing computer science education, but at the same time, one of the big reasons why today we have this issue is that there aren’t a lot of women in the field today.”
Similar retorts are said about Blacks and Hispanics even though they make up 9% each of computer science graduates.
Those graduates still don’t get hired at tech companies.
Women earn just 18% of Computer Science degrees, but they too still don’t make it in large numbers in those jobs…well not the tech jobs.
Women make up nearly half 48% of non-tech jobs at Facebook. ..and by women, I mean White Women, because remember they had 11 black women out of 4,263 in 2013.
And that brings me to my other point: Facebook manages to fill the non-tech jobs with White Women but uses as an excuse for not hiring Blacks and Hispanics that they don’t have technical background or degrees.
They didn’t even have black janitors! And they had just two black women as secretaries or admin assistants out of 121.
Facebook’s own Career page shows there are jobs at the company that do NOT require a computer science degree like in the legal, finance, facilities, communications, public policy, human resources, data analytics, marketing, sales and business development departments.
The main answer is plain and simple: conscious or unconscious bias.
Given equal qualifications and experience, those who hire usually select candidates they feel comfortable with, who they can see themselves chilling after work with or who simply resemble, physically, their current co-workers, supervisors and social circle.
Also, interviewers are humans and we all carry around preconceived notions about others based on superficial things like their dress, weight, height, name and tone of speech or inflection.
Those are attributes that should be more or less non-consequential, yet they remain dormant at rest in all of our psyche, but awaken when it’s time for recall and to make a perception of a person. And when making a hiring decision, that perception plays a big factor as well.
So, if you walk into the room with the same gender and race as the interviewer, you are awarded unconsciously a check mark that you may fit in…until you open your mouth and maybe prove otherwise.
The Black or Hispanic candidate, on the other hand, would have to prove that they could fit in. They are not rewarded with the positive side of bias.
I have a black female friend who is a Harvard and MIT graduate who has traveled to over 30 countries, has multiple interests, has had phenomenal experiences in life and during her travels, is very social, personable and has a varied and very diverse social circle.
She applied to several top tech companies for jobs, yet none hired her after she got to the interview stage.
Clearly, she had the education and background and made it all the way to the final stages but….????
This result despite they all aware of the fact that they all have that pesky 2% problem.
Things that make you go hmmmm…
Now this may sound ridiculous, but I honestly think that if someone were to do blind testing among employers withholding all these superficial things from their knowledge and even go so far as disguise a voice so there are no clues from inflection or give away the gender of the candidate, I’m pretty sure that would reveal their choices may be different without the benefit or detriment of unconscious bias clouding the picture.
The thing with assigning the problem to unconscious bias is that it shifts the blame away from women and minorities, who are always being told that THEY need to network more, attend more conferences, intern more or try to get to know the leaders in the industry more or to get Comp Sci degrees (even when it isn’t required for the job).
All of a sudden, the onus is squarely on the tech firms to try to neutralize unconscious bias that most likely contribute highly to these low numbers.
Thankfully, the summary released with the report indicates that Facebook has started a program to deal with Unconscious Bias. This is one of steps it’s taking to tackle the diversity issue along with expanding the talent pool search area and training potential hires internally and through supporting others’ external efforts.
The summary includes:
“We also know that all the effort we’re putting into finding more diverse talent will be futile if we don’t ensure that we have an inclusive culture that can truly support diversity. As such, we completely reworked our Managing Bias training course to be harder hitting and the starting point for honest conversations about stereotypes and unconscious bias. It is designed to surface biases that people might not even realize they have, and gives people the tools to identify and interrupt biased behavior as it occurs. Our entire management team has taken the class and we are rolling it out to our teams across the world”
After implementing this training along with other strategies, I would be eager to see what its soon to be released 2014 numbers will look like.
They say the road to heaven is paved with good intentions.
This idiom can also apply to rules, policies and procedures that some governments create to protect their citizens that have unintended consequences.
So could be said of the recent efforts by those wanting to preserve the free and open internet by supporting efforts of the FCC to pass strict rules controlling the Internet in order to save it from future anticipated problems. Even as the new Net Neutrality rules, recently adopted, were going into effect, court challenges were being drafted and filed. Some litigants have asked judicial bodies to review the legality of the new FCC regulations and others have filed requests to stop their enforcement until the conclusion of the guaranteed-to-be- lengthy litigation process.
All of this was an anticipated outcome that most following these issues foresaw.
While the legal wrangling ensue, investment dollars and the valuable next killer web-based service or app risk being stalled. Recent reports indicate that Venture Capitalists are already avoiding startups that require high performance broadband speeds because of the anticipated additional costs of the Network Neutrality regulations.
But there is an alternative.
The Internet Innovation Alliance recently released a paper andinfographic called “Permanently Securing Net Neutrality” which summarize the US policy towards Internet regulation. In sum, it shows the history of how the American government has always taken a hands off approach.
Congratulations to Bristol Palin who is expecting her second child.
The former Dancing With The Stars contestant announced the news which she described as “disappointing” in a blog post today:
“I wanted you to be the first to know that I am pregnant,” she wrote on her blog. “Honestly, I’ve been trying my hardest to keep my chin up on this one.
“I know this has been, and will be, a huge disappointment to my family, to my close friends, and to many of you,” she added.
The former two-time reality show star and memoir author continued, “at the end of the day there’s nothing I can’t do with God by my side, and I know I am fully capable of handling anything that is put in front of me with dignity and grace.
Bristol, whose mom is the former Alaska governor and U.S. Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin, was engaged to U.S. Marine veteran Dakota Meyer. The two called off their wedding days before the blessed event.
Bristol was thrust into the limelight when her mom, a staunch family values advocate, had to announce her pregnancy on the first day of the Republican presidential convention. She later got engaged to Levi Johnston who is the father to her first son in December 2008. They broke up a few months after, however.
She did not disclose who is her second child’s dad is.
Broadband access is being credited for decreasing teen pregnancy, The Guardian reports
A recent study at the German Institute (IZA) concluded that “at least 13% of the total decline in the teen birth rate between 1999 and 2007 can be explained by increases in high speed internet access” in the United States.
Melanie Guldi from the University of Central Florida and Chris Herbst from Arizona State University conclude:
“Broadband internet has the potential to shape in powerful ways the nature and intensity of individuals’ social connections as well as the quantity and quality of information received on relationships and sexual health … Americans are increasingly turning to the internet for a wide range of advice on romantic relationships, sex, and contraceptive methods.
“Americans – including teens – are asking for guidance on everything from whether they should have sex with a certain individual and the most effective forms of contraception to how to deal with a cheating boyfriend. Teens, who now spend more time engaging with various forms of media – much of it on-line – than any other activity (aside from sleep), are particularly well-positioned to take advantage of new information and relationship landscape created by explosion in broadband internet.”
Reducing teen pregnancies is just one of the many plus-sides of increased broadband access. Recent research shows that better internet connections can increase monthly household income by £200 ($314) in developed households, by improving access to learning and working from home.
Sounds simplistic, but the decline in teen pregnancies could also be that they’re too busy watching YouTube.
This Article Originally appeared in the blog,
The Digital Publisher challenge
One of bloggers and digital publishers’ biggest challenges is courting repeat visitors and getting sufficient page views from visitors that can be converted into revenue from ad sales or other purchases.
Even popular bloggers who have active Facebook pages must deal with the problem of their Facebook fans engaging only on the popular social media site without ever clicking the link to their blog posts that they fed to their Facebook page.
You’ll see, for example, the page’s followers debating and arguing with each other about a blogger’s post over a topic that would be easily resolved by just clicking on the attached link. These heated debates, you see on occasion, prove that many of their average followers do not engage on their actual website.
So, Facebook ends up benefiting for the fact users do not navigate too much away from the site.
It’s not like Facebook needs more hits given it already boasts about $1.14 billion users, many of whom interact with and access the site multiple times each day.
Publishers and Facebook partner
Publishers realize the value of that active audience database and 9 of the biggest news sites (The New York Times, National Geographic, BuzzFeed, NBC News, The Atlantic, The Guardian, BBC News, Spiegel Online and Bild) recently partnered up with Facebook as it forayed into the content creation business.
The recently announced Instant Articles platform will take the feeds from these popular news sites and convert them into articles and load them onto Facebook at a rate that is 10 times load faster than the typical mobile website.
Again, Facebook users who rarely navigate away from the site anyway will get to read an article directly on the site. Of course, this is great for Facebook.
But their initial partner Publishers will be able to benefit by using embedded ads or ad integrated brand placement and marketing to generate money off the site’s users.
What about the little guys?
But what about the rest of us and the smaller publishers and bloggers?
To bring other publishers into the mix, Facebook launched last week its author tag program. At first blush, it seems to be similar to the Google authorship program which did the same thing: connect readers to other content an author has produced.
But as we know, Google’s authorship program didn’t really get off the ground too well and eventually fizzled out this year.
But Facebook is different in that it has the benefit of already being the social media platform of choice for millions of people.
Its author tag program may actually help writers more.
How Does It Work?
Authors, journalists and bloggers embed a code onto their sites and then when their site feeds to their Facebook page, audiences will see a hyperlink to the author’s name.
Readers then will be given the option to follow the author so that future articles that writer posts onto the site will be fed automatically to the followers. Alternatively or concurrently, a reader could also click a link to see other articles the author has contributed to or written.
It could be a great way for a blog or website’s content to get delivered to more audiences, to include those who do not already follow the blog, site or author’s Facebook fan page.
It seems like a good way to expand a writer’s reach and get an author more exposure, and so too for website owners and bloggers.
I am cautiously optimistic.
I think this tag experiment could also be useful for owners of very popular Facebook pages who are bloggers. They could expand their fan base to include actual “readers” (and not just commenters) to click the links to their websites and read their content.
For less popular sites or sites with less active Facebook pages, this program could help them grow a potential community of active readers that will engage with other readers on their fan page and start meaningful conversations that could spill onto their blog’s comment pages, possibly.
I have yet to see any blogger or writer activate their author tag.
I know that one of my blogs already have a link that gives readers the choice to follow the blog or like its fan page.
Eventually, I plan to test it out and see if it sends new readers.
Last week, Facebook also announced a change to its algorithms so that it will essentially boost articles that users spend more time reading.
In the digital publishing world, premium is put on reader retention. And Facebook too is rewarding this metric.
To the extent, having the author tag will boost a less popular blogger’s Facebook page and article and thereby getting their content boosted in FB’s algorithms and consequently in more news feeds, then it sounds more like a winner than not.
I’ll let you guys know how it turns out!
I was doing one of my favorite pastimes, scouring Pinterest for inspiration and ideas and I bumped into a Tom Ford quote that described me perfectly. And, if you know how Pinterest works, you know that it offers you similar “pins” to check out. I did that and discovered a few other quotes that I could also relate to.
Digging deeper after some research, I found out he is a Virgo like I am. Interesting. Tom Ford has a brilliant mind. He is known for saying some pretty provocative things in interviews.
Here are my fave 18 quotes I discovered (including the one above) that I think describe me, my mind, my life and perspective on work and other topics perfectly. They could also apply to hustlers, work-a-holics, Type-A types and other perfectionists.
Twitter‘s CEO Dick Costolo will step down, New York Times reports.
Part of the reason the 5-year Chief of the popular social media company is relinquishing his post is because of its struggles to grow its user database, increase ad revenue and get side projects launched and successful.
Unfortunately, Twitter doesn’t have the same flexibility to do the old bait and switch to a pay for prioritization model that Facebook can do.
I have had several public Facebook groups and business pages over the past 6 years or so. Before Facebook started allowing ads and sponsored post boosts, each of my posts would receive thousands of views. I know because we had analytics enabled then too.
However, the minute Facebook started letting people pay for boosts, the view count went down to the single digit in some cases. The content had not changed.
At first I wondered if the company had decide to change the way it counted views. Then I figured, the algorithm had changed so that the factors that would determine if my post would reach to the top of most users’ news feeds.
The more popular posts will cycle back up periodically through the day because it means users deem the content valuable if they decide to give it a thumbs up endorsement.
But for those, like me, who don’t have enough Facebook fans to get pushed to the top were stuck!
We could however get a boost and those numbers, for a cost as low as $5.00.
Great! Paid for prioritization. They had gotten us used to FREE prioritization in the past but now the site knew it had a cash cow in FB page owners. This is the ultimate Freemium.
For $60 dollars I could get up to 26,000 people to see my post. Remember, before, I already was getting about 26,000 views per post. But because I realize the importance of brand outreach and brand awareness, it’s worth it!
I do not begrudge Facebook for making this business decision as I would do the same if I had a captive audience of 50 million Facebook Group pages, including $40 million small business pages like mine that want to grow.
Similarly, Pinterest, which used to allow users to pin photos that were linked to their affiliate account, and had people earning as much as $1,000 a day, reversed its policy.
Recently, it announced it would block affiliate links, reasoning because it contributed to a lot of spam on the image-sharing social media site.
But if you want to continue to earn money from affiliate pinning, you can but you have to share the earnings with Pinterest and go through it. Also, Pinterest has partnered with Apple and has plans to take advantage of the massive user database through its own “Buy Now” button.
Aaaah! Another bait and switch Freemium model. But again, it’s a business monetization decision and the kind of things one can do in the Open Internet without the government stepping in to stop it.
Twitter never had that option.
Users never made money much from Twitter thus they never got a chance to get a taste of lucrative earnings from the site that they could get used to and eventually pay for given their awareness of the value.
It’s all business…but for how long.
This is also why I remain perplexed by the Net Neutrality advocates who choose to ignore how an Open Internet would permit web-based businesses like Pinterest and Facebook to charge for prioritization to increase revenues. Those of us choosing to get boosted for a nominal fee do not at all lessen the experience for everyday users or page owners who don’t. The market and the old Open Internet system we had before managed to be part of the tremendous growth of the ecosystem.
This week, a federal judge denied a petition to Stay the FCC‘s Network Neutrality order so alas, it is law right now.
Time will tell if this old archaic section of the Telecommunications Act of 1986 imposed on the Internet will hamper progress and innovation.
In the meantime, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey will retake the CEO position on a temporary basis as the company scrambles to find a replacement.
It’s back to business as usual…with a side of outdated regulation.
Some people blog as a hobby, to chronicle an experience, moment or event in their lives they’re living thru or just to organize thoughts or photos. Others blog to share their journey or simply to spout their daily musings and perspectives on various topics.
Something happens when daily journaling starts to grow a large following and to catch the attention of content and brand partners or other media. When a blogger realizes he or she has opportunities to make substantial earning from blogging, it’s time to get serious. There are a series of steps and things needed to be done to make a blog a true business like traditional ones.
This series derive from a handful of popular posts I’ve published on this Poli-Tech blog, Jenebaspeaks.com. Each was highly searched and received tons of traffic from people all over the world looking for quick advice. It made sense to encapsulate the solid tips and suggestions found in those posts and organize them into an ebook series.
This first book in the series, How to Set Up Your Blog as a Business in 6 Steps (Basics of Blogging as a Business Book 1) covers all the things one needs to know to set up the blog so it can be run and grow just as any brick and mortar business. The overhead costs for web-based businesses are still minimal compared to traditional small and micro businesses but when venturing out to earn revenue, there are a few items and services that would need to be invested in so the blog can grow to the next level. This First Volume in the Series offers all the basic things that may not be as intuitive and could be overlooked.
It is a quick and digestible read that readers can turn to as a reference guide.
DOWNLOAD this First eBook in the series HERE!