October 22, 2007

Blogging For Boobs

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Je Maverick of Web for Humanity recently shared with us his latest campaign to raise awareness of breast cancer: Blogging for Boobs. October, after all, is breast cancer awareness month, and Web for Humanity thinks blogging is a great way to let people know about the importance of detection and treatment.

In an attempt to spread this awareness (with the added hope of raising a mountain of cash to aid breast cancer researchers in their hunt for a cure), myself and some colleagues in favour of the idea have chosen to put on a blogging event.

Blogging For Boobs is an event that is hinged around the need to make people aware that they should regularly self-examine breasts for lumps or growths. Whilst men are susceptible to developing cancer of the breasts and should also self-examine, the much larger percentage of those afflicted with the cancer are women. Globally, approximately 1.5 million women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year.

The online event will be held on October 28th, and bloggers are encouraged to write about anything that can raise awareness over the matter.

[W]hile breast cancer awareness is the topic that we are lending our support to, the topic does not necessarily have to be about breast cancer. Blogging in support of breast cancer awareness, no matter what the subject, will help us to create a much needed awareness network in order to promote the cause.

We would like to see as many personal anecdotes and stories on the subject, so if you have these to tell then we would appreciate your contribution. Please remember to keep all posts tasteful.

You can send email to boobs (at) webforhumanity.org for entries and for other inquiries. Je’s blog also has avatars, badges and buttons you can add to your blog if you wish to participate.

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Copyright Cases to Watch: Coton v. TVX Films

Many photographers dream of having their work displayed on the cover of magazines, DVDs and books. Likewise, many models dream of having their faces splashed across display stands across the country.

However, this was not how Lara Jade Coton envisioned her debut would be made.

In May if this year. Coton discovered that a self portrait, one taken when she was just fourteen years old, had appeared on the cover of a pornographic DVD entitled “Body Magic”.

In July of this year, Coton with the help of a Tampa attorney named Richard Harrison filed suit against TVX films for the infringement, quickly turning what was a PR disaster and source of public outrage into a copyright case with potential implications reaching deep into the blogging and photography world.

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Where is the Blogosphere?

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Blogs constitute a world of their own which we often refer to as the blogosphere:

Blogosphere is a collective term encompassing all blogs and their interconnections. It is the perception that blogs exist together as a connected community (or as a collection of connected communities) or as a social network. (Wikipedia)

Wikipedia treats the blogosphere as a concept of interconnectedness. We are making connections by linking to other blogs and over time a community may be formed around a topic. But where are these communities and where is the blogosphere? We can only “see” the blogosphere by visualizing the links that are made and by visiting blog search engines.

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What Do I Blog About?

I’m often asked by beginning bloggers: What do I blog about?

I have some answers for them, and hopefully for you.

While I recommend that you blog about your passion, whatever your blog’s purpose and goals are, there are times when the well of blog ideas dry up. While I’ve written much about how to find sources for your blog posts, I thought I’d give you some different kinds of inspiration to help you find something to blog about. It’s up to you on how you choose to incorporate these blogging ideas into your blog.

Ya cain’t sing nothin’ if ya ain’t got nothin’ to say.

Shotgun Willie by Willie Nelson

Blog About Anything

You can, if you want, blog about anything. Just start writing and see what happens as you write. Amazing topics can come to mind if you just start writing your thoughts.

However, just as you really wouldn’t want someone to read the thoughts in your head, nor do your readers. Take time to edit what you’ve written. Find the nuggets within what you wrote and edit your words to highlight those gems for your readers. If you have made a lot of points and possibly said too much, don’t delete it. Divide it up into multiple posts if you like the points you made.

Just write. Sit down and start typing. Go here and there and just let whatever you think flow from your head through your fingers.

Stream of consciousness writing can be amazing. Like journaling, if you let it happen, it’s kind of like channeling your unconscious through the keyboard to the screen. You never know what might come out. It might be a brilliant idea, comment, quote, or a new thought that takes you in a new direction.

Follow it.
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October 21, 2007

TechCrunch brings in $240k p/m in advertising – signs of a profitable blog

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The San Francisco Chronicle has published an interesting, long, article about the potential profitability of blogs. Citing TechCrunch as an example of a successful blog with low overheads which owner Mike Arrington claims now makes $240k per month in advertising revenue, the article collects the views of a number of experts in the Bay Area — “a center of the blogging business”.

“As traditional media continue to contract, this stuff is going to expand,” said Steve King, senior fellow with the Society for New Communications Research, a Palo Alto think tank. “The business models have caught up and you’re starting to see little blog publishing companies that frankly are becoming not so little.”

Professional blogs “are at a fork in the road,” said Lisa Stone, co-founder and CEO of BlogHer, an online company operating a women’s blogging network. “Any publisher has to implement (ethical) guidelines. If someone recommends a mixer, a diaper or a personal digital assistant, it has to be because they absolutely love it. It’s the only way to succeed.”

“This is the next evolution of media,” said Jon Callaghan, a partner with True Ventures

Nick Denton of Gawker Media calls for caution: “A few self-sustaining blog media businesses do seem to have emerged. But they’re still minuscule by the standards of traditional media. And none have weathered a downturn. So it would be unwise to sound too triumphant.”

It’s good to see traditional media continuing to pay positive attention to blogging, though I hope it doesn’t give the impression that making significant money from blogging is a given, or that a large proportion of bloggers will easily do it.

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October 20, 2007

b5media hosting additional teaching day at BlogWorld Expo

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Darren Rowse has reported that blog network b5media will be holding a day of teaching before the BlogWorld Expo in Las Vegas officially kicks off.

The schedule on 7th November is as follows:

0915-1000: “How to Use Digg to Assplode Your Blog” – Brian Clark/Aaron Brazell
1015-1100: “Thriving as a B-List Blogger” – Jeremy Wright/Allen Stern
1115-1145: “Creating a Powerblogging Toolset” – Marshall Kirkpatrick/Tris Hussey
1200-1230: “Amping Up Your WordPress Blog” – Brian Layman/Mark Jaquith
1430-1515: “Survival Tips for Network Bloggers” – Leora Zellman/Mary Jo Manzanares
1530-1615: “Creating Conversations With Your Readers” – Alex Hillman/Jake McKee
1700-1800: Private update session for b5media staff and bloggers

I’m intrigued about “assploding” my blog – I think there’s an in-joke there I’m not familiar with.

The day is free to anyone attending the Expo.

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October 19, 2007

Six Apart announces free webinar on Using Social Media in the Workplace

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Six Apart will provide a webinar titled Enterprise 2.0: Using Social Media in the Workplace, on Tuesday, October 30th at 10:30am PDT. The free live webinar will be conducted by Forrester analysts Charlene Li and Rob Koplowitz. In addition, Anil Dash, Chief Evangelist of Six Apart, will present case studies and be available to answer questions about social media and Movable Type.

As the leading provider of enterprise social media and blog publishing platforms, Six Apart is providing this seminar to give CIOs, CTOs, CMOs, Directors of Technology, VPs of Marketing, VPs of Engineering, and other executives a better understanding of how social media can positively impact their workplaces. During the webinar session, the speakers will share their expertise and best practices for incorporating social media, such as blogs and podcasts, into the workplace and provide ideas about how enterprise companies can leverage these tools to increase productivity and collaboration.

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Become Famous, Start a Blog – 3 Things You can do Today to Make Social Media Work for You

Jim Long opened his session with the members of the Direct Marketing Association at their day long event in Washington DC with the statement that he was just a cameramen. Mind you, the man behind the lens of some pretty well known TV anchors from NBC News. Yet, in the traditional hierarchy of GE’s media conglomerate, well down on the food chain, as he shared with us at the session.

In the blogosphere and on Twitter however, he is a hero. Followed by many, envied by a few, and for all the good reasons –- a new media maven he is. Thanks to his entrepreneurial spirit and formidable skills with a camera, he is now potentially sitting on the future of media –- and people like him, a lot. We tend to buy from people we like, that is extremely good news for Jim.

The other good news is that Jim has talent and a skill that is becoming increasingly a hot commodity online – he can shoot a very good video. He’s found a way to monetize his efforts with The Crafty Nation, one of the many portals he is planning in the future. If you wish to learn more about that venture, come over to my blog after reading this.

Blogging and launching online businesses successfully require the ability to tell a story and a keen eye for what will work for viewers. Jim knows quite a bit about capturing eyeballs from his day job. If you follow him on Twitter, you will see that he understands the value of feet on the ground. That is what social media and self-publishing are all about. There is also another ingredient needed, one we talk about in the close of this post.

The potential for building a successful business is enormous. Especially on the basis of redirected talent and keen observation of the dynamics of this new conversation with the marketplace. It’s a way to go direct with your offering, name, venture, and capture a slice of the business. How did Jim do that?

1. Jim started a blog declaring his intention – Verge New Media, the intersection of old and new media. Then, because he spends a lot of time on the road, he integrated that with a Twitter account, which allows him to post shorter, impromptu messages about what he’s doing. At the writing of this post, he has 1,125 people following him. We follow him because he posts about stuff you don’t see in the news. That’s the intersection and the allure. What skill could you leverage today to set your blog apart while borrowing the credibility built around that skill? What’s your business secret sauce? Find a way to put it out there.

2. Jim’s business cards say – powerful content for the empowered consumer. Slightly more targeted than his blog, which he started in May 2007. Go ahead and Google his name, it comes up second. Want to know why? He’s managed to get attention by stating he was not going to talk about what operational security allows the NBC travel pool to know before a trip. By showing he’s an empowered employee and a judicious one, he is providing excellent examples of how to deliver powerful content. How can you be a living example of what you’d like people to buy?

3. He delivers great personal experiences. Take a look at his video of the sausage factory of old media TV news coverage (second to last, scrolling down). The narrative is pure Jim – he’s soft spoken, lively, and has a great sense of timing and humor. For another example of his skill check out his entry for the Network2 contest on Blip.tv. I bet you’ll never watch the news the same way now that’s you’ve seen it from behind the camera. And that is the third point exactly. Can you find a way to be accessible and professional at the same time — likeable and valued?

Jim’s advice if your plan is to make a business of social media:

- First plan your business; write a business plan.
- Surround yourself with a board of advisers.
- Incorporate yourself and
- Be serious about it; make the commitment.

What other suggestions would you share with fellow social media mavens on launching a successful online business?

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Bloggers Who Blame Don’t Change Things

In Placing Blame Where Blame Deserves to Be Placed, I wrote about how many bloggers throw blame on the wrong personal or company and how we need to be more responsible when we use our blogs as weapons of blame and guilt.

I recently ran across the following quote:

When you blame others, you give up your power to change.

Douglas Noel Adams

Many bloggers use their blogs to complain, blame, and get a little revenge, but does it make a difference? Sometimes.
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How to Know if Your Readers are Engaged

In my last post here I said with feed counts, size isn’t everything. What I was saying is it is better to have a smaller, more engaged audience, than a larger and disinterested subscriber base.

How do you know if you have an engaged audience?

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