10 Things I Wish I knew When I Started Blogging 10 years Ago
October 2, 2015
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.
Stay on Top of Your To-Do List & Arrive On Time Doing This One Thing
October 1, 2015
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.
Groups chip away at Heavy Male Tech Scene
September 25, 2015
This group aims to get 70% female to 30% male attendance and participation rate in its Start Up Weekend event.
How Libraries are Crucial to Underserved Population w/out In-Home Broadband
September 23, 2015
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.
“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.
Tools you Need To Simulcast Shoot Live Streaming Video By Yourself
September 21, 2015
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 Amazon.com. It retails for about $39.99 but I got it on sale for $14.95 on Amazon.com.
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!
Tumblr Founder declares ‘Peace’ with App Developers by pulling his Ad Blocker App
September 20, 2015
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.Advertisement
“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.”
Why There is No Such a Thing as #BloggerBlackmail
September 18, 2015
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:
3 Reasons Why a ‘Balanced Life” could Actually Save Your LIfe
September 16, 2015
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