May 29, 2007

The Two Webs: Information or Relationships?

About a month ago, I was in a group, planning a panel discussion for an upcoming conference. It had been suggested that people be invited to question whether business bloggers share personal information on their business blogs. Information blogging versus relationship blogging was at the heart of the question.

I imagined the panel and the audience in the conference room. I thought, “It’s not often that people get to see subjects — other than politics and religion — that would be equally as dividing.” Very soon after the planning discussion, I caught myself picturing the panel. I was filled with knowing that circles for the sides of the panel placed in a Venn diagram would hardly touch. It was hard to foresee that folks would be persuaded to be any closer in outlook.

Two very different world views — one informational, one relational. Each point of view defines the experience differently. Static or dynamic, take your pick.

This elephant is standing on the web. read more

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Web Browser Guide: Searching The Web

Learning how to search the web is the single most important lesson in Internet 101. The web is a great repository of information, some of critical importance and a lot more totally useless. Still, if you can’t find it, you can’t use it.

Learning how to search and how to use your browser to search not only helps you get the answers to the questions you need for life and work, but it helps you become a more powerful and efficient blogger. While many think they know how to search the web efficiently from their browser, as part of this ongoing Web Browser Guide for Bloggers series, let’s explore the many techniques to help you improve your search, especially when it comes to finding content for your blog and learning how visitors search and find your blog.

There are two elements to understanding how to search. First is understanding how to speed up the search process from your browser on the web as well as on a website. The second, covered tomorrow, is to learn how to improve your search techniques.
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May 28, 2007

How to Stop Plagiarism Cold

Detecting plagiarism and content theft is a relatively simple process for most types of content. Just plug your work into a few search engines and, odds are, you’ll come up with a list of people ripping off your hard work.

But detecting plagiarism does little good if there is no way to stop it. However, stopping plagiarism is a very different matter. Getting someone to stop using your work requires you to be a negotiator, a detective and a jurist.

Fortunately, if you know what to do and where to look for help, the process of stopping plagiarism can be relatively easy and painless. I, myself, rarely spend more than fifteen minutes on a case of plagiarism. With the proper tools in place, there is little reason anyone else should spend more time.

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Would You Trust Your Memories to a Web App?

As I post this, I’m uploading hundreds of digital photos onto my Flickr account. I still do have a ton of photos I haven’t uploaded yet, and most of these are either burned onto DVDs or still inside my laptop’s hard drive. Each time I update and manage my photo collection, I come to the realization that because of technology we’ve come so far in terms of how we manage our memories.

Just a decade ago, photo albums were still the preferred way of keeping family memories. People took photos on film cameras, had these developed, and organized select photos into albums. The negatives are mostly kept tucked away, sometimes along with the album itself. This way, we had hard copies of whatever relevant events in our lives on hand. If we wanted copies, we just took the negatives to the photo shop, and had duplicates printed.

These days, though, it’s mostly digital. The first time I bought my family our own digital camera, we were hooked on digital photography. The initial cost was higher than your usual film point-and-shoot camera, but the variable costs are close to nil. You could just keep on downloading your photos to your computer, and save them to optical media for backup. Printing was only done sparsely, and we only printed photos which we would frame.

Along with this radical change came also radical changes in how we shared these memories with friends. Before, we used to bring out photo albums everytime friends or relatives visited our home. But these days, we just send emails with links to our photos online. We post them on our blogs. Or even better, our social networking contacts are automatically notified of newly uploaded photos, for them to view at their pleasure (or displeasure, if you’re not exactly the photogenic type).

However, Murphy’s law says if something can go wrong, something is bound to go wrong, and this is especially applicable in the realm of technology. So in a couple of years, my hard drive might crash. My CDs and DVDs might scratch, melt or fade. There’s still my Flickr account, you say. But how sure am I that Flickr will still exist as it is now, 10, 20 years from now? What about Photobucket? Picasa? Multiply? What about my blog?

And if nothing wrong happens, the world might adopt an entirely new way of storing and cataloging images that might render our present one obsolete. Would we be using holograms? Would we be directly interfacing our brains with computer equipment? If this be the case, would we have an easy way to migrate our data over to such formats?

The question looms. Have I haphazardly entrusted my memories to technology and to web apps?

I’m using a Flickr Pro account, and Flickr says pro users get permanent archiving of high resolution photos. I sure hope stick true to their word.

At my old room at my parents’ house, there’s this old leather attaché case filled with unfiled, un-sorted photos of our family dating from decades back (even before I was born). Some are still in pristine condition, while some have yellowed and faded. But the photos are still there, within physical reach. We still reminisce and laugh about those moments that happened ages ago, whenever we chance upon the old thing and open it to reveal the treasures hidden inside.

I’m wondering whether I can do the same with my digital photos with my kids and future grandkids decades into the future.

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May 26, 2007

BlogCatalog employs social media to raise funds for non-profits

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BlogCatalog.com is launching a social awareness campaign to benefit DonorsChoose.org on May 28. The campaign asks directory members to write about DonorsChoose.org and raise funds for the non-profit organization.

DonorsChoose.org is a non-profit Web site that brings teachers and donors together to fund specific student projects that range from “Magical Math Centers” ($200) to “Cooking Across the Curriculum” ($1,100). Any individual can search teacher proposals and fund specific projects, which are tax deductible.

We’ve asked our directory members to provide a specific link in their post so we can track the success of our program, but anyone can participate
“Internet social networks from MySpace to Facebook are receiving a ton of media and Internet attention, but we have yet to see an online social community come together to raise funds for a good cause,” said Anthony Berkman, president of BlogCatalog.com.

Berkman’s idea is to challenge directory members to draw attention to and raise funds for this underserved non-profit organization. BlogCatalog.com has set a goal to raise at least $25,000 for DonorsChoose.org, which is a member of the Omidyar Network. The Omidyar Network is a mission-based organization established by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife, Pam.

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Using Contextual Advertising On Your Blog (Part II)

If just recently tuning in I would reccomend checking out Using Contextual Advertising On Your Blog (Part I)

To start off on this post I want to give some suggestions to bloggers who own/author technology blogs. These types of blogs are great to earn a quick buck especially if you know what your talking about. Putting contextual advertising on blogs like these are virtually pain free when it comes to the stress of relevancy because the “gadget” market is always booming. This is not a suggestion to go make a lame tech blog and hopefully make some coin; I am just giving all gadget bloggers a pat on the back due to the fact that they have chosen to blog in an easily monetizable vertical.

Ad Placement Is Important
Ad placement is very important on a blog and can be the most important placement on any website. It can affect the payouts you receive and the way your readers interpret the advertisers. Keeping it simple will most likely earn you a smaller chunk of change but let you keep your users vs. just piling advertisers and relying on social media sites such as digg to provide you with random bursts of traffic. http://www.pimp-phones.com/2007/05/12/top-5-flip-phones/ is a perfect example (and is a work in progress of my own).

Two standard yahoo advertisements and an auction-ads banner on the site. As you see the blog isn’t overwhelmed yet as it has 3 advertisements per page. The one problem with that blog is how un-original that placement is. If you really want to make those big bucks off your “barbie doll” blog think up something originality with the advertisements on your blog. This is something I will also post on later.

When NOT to use Adsense
Although I am trying to praise contextual advertising on a blog I would like to let you know of some reasons why NOT to pile adsense on your blog. If blogging about certain grey area categories which happen to involve pictures of half naked ladies I recommend not using adsense or YPN on that blog due to the fact that you will most likely be terminated (and not paid!!) as they are violations of the Terms of Service. So, what to do?

If you happen to be blogging about adult related topics or anything that happens to have a low pay per click payout, OR you happen plain just happen to have ads that you would never click on, I would suggest you that you just do CPM based advertising. As blogs grow and form as a brand CPM rates can be huge and easily sold to huge marketing firms which are not looking for leads or sales, only branding. That is my suggestion to monetize your blog if writing about adult topics, dating, celebrity gossip, and so on.

In the next post i am going to cover some ways to tweak/increase the payouts you receive from the advertising networks.


Harrison Gevirtz blogs at Cpashare.com

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May 25, 2007

Web Browser Guide: Button, Keyboard, and Mouse Shortcuts

As mentioned in the first post of this Web Browser Guide for Bloggers, one of the most efficient ways to use your web browser is to learn its shortcuts.

So I went browser shortcut hunting with some of my “professional” blogging and web masters, asking them what their favorite shortcut was with their browser.

Unfortunately, most of them said the same thing. “I don’t know any shortcuts.” They learned how to do what they do, and any shortcuts they came up with turned out to be browser extensions and add-ons.

One woman, whose whole job and live revolves around the web, came up with Right Click on a link and pick Open in New Tab as the shortcut she uses all the time in Firefox. I asked her if she knew she could do the same command with the center button of her mouse. She couldn’t remember if her mouse had a center button. She later discovered that her mouse indeed had a button in the center wheel and suddenly tabbing was easier. A new shortcut.

A shortcut is anything that gets the job done faster. In this article, I’m focusing on built-in techniques to speed up the browsing process. Later, I’ll cover extensions and add-ons that will help you cruise the Internet with even more power and efficiency.

There are three shortcuts I’ll explore with your web browser: button, keyboard, and mouse shortcuts.
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Google Ditches The Honor System For AdSense

In a semi-surprising move Google has asked AdSense publishers who accidentally click on their own ads to stop informing them of those clicks. Many users (I included) would shoot off an email to the search engine giant if we mistakingly clicked on an ad on one of their blog/web sites.

Previously this was considered the “ProBlogger” thing to do (or at least ethical) in order to avoid getting Google slapped with a lifetime warranty ban. But now if you accidentally click on your own ads, the honor system no longer applies.
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Is Your Blogging “Lost”?

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Reader involvement, uniqueness and an appropriate amount of information are all essential to writing up a captivating post. We have many tools to observe how these elements are conveyed in different types of media and whether or not we are using the right structure for writing.

The tool I’ll be analyzing is visual media, specifically, Television. The show I will base this article on may be familiar to you: Lost. In all it’s a great show but that’s not why I am focusing on it. The relation between Lost and Heroes which Valeria mentioned last week is surprisingly similar but how the plot is conveyed between the two couldn’t be anymore farther apart.

And it serves as an interesting series of lessons to bloggers.

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SpinVox inks deal with Six Apart

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SpinVox announced a deal with Six Apart that enables all 12 million Six Apart LiveJournal bloggers to post directly from any phone to their journals. SpinVox converts the blogger’s voice message to text and posts it on their LiveJournal – powering online communities, social networking and citizen journalism through voice.

“Speaking is the easiest and most natural way to convey great ideas, thoughts or moments,” commented Christina Domecq, co-founder and CEO, SpinVox. “Sharing is also a natural impulse. By connecting the two simply and directly, we’re enabling people to share their life experiences in the most natural way. The voice-powered blogosphere is now available from any phone, anywhere.”

Mena Trott, co-founder and president of Six Apart, said: “This integration is a great way for blogging and voice to go hand-in-hand. By dialing a number, our customers can connect with millions of bloggers and communities with postings that are immediate and that capture the essence of the moment.”

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