June 28, 2008

Twing.com to Search Your Forum

Twing.com is a new search engine, geared at forums and online communities. They’ve been around since January, and as the site shows, it is still very much beta. Not only the actual service, but the site as well – the how to use page is lacking, for example.

Nevertheless, it looks like an interesting service that might fill a void. This from a press release recently sent out:

“Online forums are an established medium people have been using to communicate since the early days of the internet, even predating the web. The number of users of these forums has been consistently growing year over year, and recent estimates of U.S. users alone exceeds 50 million,” said Kevin Shea, General Manager for Twing.com. “As more users become active, more forums have been created and this trend is continuing. Our goal is to help these internet users to participate in discussions, ask questions, get answers and offer advice by providing a resource that organizes this category of online content and uncovers the discussions that interest them. We expect Twing.com to be an invaluable resource for forum users and owners.”

Check out Twing.com, and tell me what you think of this service. Are they filling a need, or is Google enough?

Tags: ,

i

June 27, 2008

Do You Podcast? Are You Going to Podcast on Your Blog?

Yesterday, I brought up the issue of podcasts in What Makes Podcasts Fun To Listen To? The post asked what makes your favorite podcasts fun and successful in your eyes in format and structure.

Podcasts on blogs are growing in popularity. With portable media players, especially iPods, more affordable and accessible, people are downloading podcasts in addition to music. I’m finding podcasts on file sharing services and media marketplaces beyond iTunes. With the ease of adding multimedia to our blogs improving, it’s natural that we want to explore communication beyond the written word and still photographs.

Today, I want to know if you are podcasting on your blog, or if you are considering podcasting.

If you are podcasting, how is it working for you? Are you finding the experience successful? Is traffic and readership increasing? How are you podcasting? Alone or with a host? More than two hosts? How is that working for you?

What equipment and software are you using? How do you record interviews, edit the audio, convert the audio into various formats, and what is the easiest and hardest aspects of podcasting? We want to learn from you, so tell us how your podcasting efforts are working and how it’s evolved as you’ve learned along the way.

Are you considering adding a podcast to your blog? Why? Have you thought about the format, structure, how to handle the files with uploading, downloading, publicizing, and sharing? Will you add music? From where? Copyright free content, your own original music, or what?

Will your podcast feature just you or will you have more than one host? Considering adding interviews? How? What technology are you considering to add access for interviews and co-hosts? What programs are you considering for editing your recordings?

There are a lot of technical issues that confront bloggers who want to podcast, which keeps many from podcasting. Yet, there is a growing collection of technology that makes the process easier and faster.

Let’s talk about how podcasts work for blogs, or not, and how you can save time generating podcast recordings and publishing on your blog.

Tags: ,

i

Are you a Marathon Blogger or a Sprinter?

Blogging has probably matured a great deal since you started. Part of it is that it has reached critical mass, or tipping point, as it may be. The more people have blogs, the more blogs out there contending for everyone’s time and attention. Part of it is that thanks to all the great advice out there, many have learned about the ins and outs of:

– attracting readers
– getting comments
– writing better content
– having cleaner designs
– increasing subscribers
– finding post ideas
– staying the course

Social media and marketing have become so ubiquitous, that one of the things we rarely think about is the way in which we approach publishing and how that feeds back into our self esteem and brand. If you feel well conditioned and ready for a rush of activity, good for you. If instead, you feel that you are in a race that never ends, you may need to take inventory of why that is. It could be that:

You’re overextended – too much distance in too many terrains

When your creativity is being scattered over too many sites, even if you consider yourself remarkably creative, your concentration suffers. So does your writing. In addition, your brand will become diluted.

It works just like it works with products and services. You need to pick a focus, a home base site, and develop that well. If you have multiple sites, you may want to pull back some of that work and put it on your main site.

Being overextended also means being tired and tired people’s nerves fray more easily. That is when you are likely to make a bad judgment call, or react to a comment instead of responding. That’s when things rip apart.

You are getting tired of the language of social media – too crowded

The words “conversation” “anything 2.0 or social media” even “blog” are being rendered less valuable by their mass appropriation. There’s just a lot of it out there, and some folks are busy pounding the terminology flat. The general solution here is to start looking past those words as your central point of reference.

Chances are your brand and business are much more than those terms. You need to get past them and focus on where you are going next, vs. where you are now. Words are very powerful and they can change how you think about what you do – and help others do the same.

Do you need to broaden your horizons, change your pace? Maybe you need to get out of the race altogether.

You may just not enjoy what you are doing anymore – you need rest

If you’re having a hard time coming up with fresh ideas regularly and just do not look forward to writing, you may suffer from burn out. It colors everything you do. Even when you’re writing well, you’re not appreciating your own success.

It’s a sign that it’s time for a change.

Blogging is also changing – bursts of activity scattered in more places

Discussion is migrating elsewhere. A lot of the smart people are migrating to things like Friendfeed — which is an important service — Facebook, and all the other stuff like Twitter and Plurk.

You might be able to restrict your availability on these outside discussions, driving conversation back to your site. Or maybe participating in off-site stuff increases your influence and drives the site. No one knows how that will play, yet.

It may be that you have to shift your expectations of a good post or a good week at your blog. It’s a time of flux in this area — it’s tough to say now. Maybe you’ll know in a year you’ll see what evolves in this area. The technology is still changing, too.

In the future, discussion may become very portable — very decentralized. But there will be software hooks back into websites. So you’ll comment where you wish, but the comments will get hooked wherever the publisher wants them.

Friendfeed, for instance, could be hooked to your site. When people comment on FF, the discussion is a sort of trackback. Friendfeed-like services may become social networks that get anchored where you want them. All hooked together. It will be easy when it’s ready. You’ll add a widget: done.

Content will propagate through these tools, eventually. Nets on top of nets. Communities will become more like flash mobs as these tools get adopted. More like butterflies, actually. People will see a bright flower, visit, and move on. They’ll be back.

Like any activity, business can be approached with a view to the long haul or in a very focused, and temporary manner. Are you in it for the long run, or is this just a sprint to your next destination? Are you a marathon blogger or a sprinter? There is no right or wrong, just make sure it is what you want.

Tags: , ,

i

3 Free and Instant Sources of News Content Ideas

“What should I write about?”

I am guessing for most people that is a familiar question. For people who set out to cover the news, it is an even more pressing question.

The Blog Herald, thankfully, allows both news and more opinion/tutorial type pieces. I don’t have to be on top of the latest happenings provided I can inform. Lucky me.

What happens though when you need to write about the news as it breaks?

read more

i

June 26, 2008

New On Google’s Blogger: Import-Export Blogs, Ratings And Embeded Comment Forms?

Blogger in Draft

Users of Google’s Blogger (aka BlogSpot) platform will be excited to see three new features being tested on Google’s eternal beta site for Blogger (which can be accessed over at draft.blogger.com).

The first is the ability for BlogSpot users to Import/Export their blogs to/from another server, computer or another blog platform.

(Blogger in Draft) Today’s release brings another long-desired feature to Blogger: Import and Export of blogs. Now you can export all of your posts and comments into a single, Atom-formatted XML file for easy backup. You can then import the posts back into Blogger, either into an existing blog or into a new one. […]

When you import a blog, all of the posts will get saved in an “imported” state. From there you can publish just a few, or all of them at once.

The interesting thing about this feature is that once a blog is imported, users will be able to select which posts (along with the comments) to publish to their new blog. Also users can import more than one blog to a single blogger weblog, allowing users publishing from different sites to merge all of their articles together.
read more

Tags: , ,

i

What Makes Podcasts Fun To Listen To?

I’ve been listening to a lot of blogger podcasts lately covering a wide range of subjects. Most have a fairly standard format of introduction, preview of the show to come, then news, interviews, and a summary, but some just jump right in and wander all over the place.

Well-written blog posts tend to have a single objective which is supported by about three solid points. It includes links to more information or supporting evidence, images and screenshots, and typically encourages comments to continue the conversation.

A podcast is a multi-level conversation that happens within the podcast itself as well as within the blog and back again. A podcast typically covers many objectives, often repeated features with each episode, making a podcast into a combination multiple blog post and link list.

Some podcasters use very little music on their shows. Some use a lot. Some incorporate ads and promos from other blogs and online businesses, just as blogs do, and others do not. Some feature multiple voices led by a single host or many, with interviews, live or recorded questions and answers, and commentaries. Many more feature a single voice.

With so much diversity in podcasting, which podcasts do you enjoy the most and why? What elements do you look forward to in a podcast, and which ones do you wish would go?

As more and more bloggers are discovering how easy podcasting is, adding an audio element to their blogs, what do you think about podcasting? Will you soon be adding one to your blog?

Tags: ,

i

BlogTalkRadio Secures $4.6m in Funding

Podcasting service BlogTalkRadio have secured $4.6 million in Series A funding, which sparked a piece in the Bits blog, and an announcement post in the official blog of course:

We simply couldn’t be more excited about how this company is evolving and now we have the capital in place to accomplish many things. We are planning major enhancements to our user interface and user experience. We will invest in content and distribution as well as further developing our ad sales platform. We are also looking at developing many new products including a highly differentiated video platform, audio to text transcription applications and much more.

Congratulations are in order. Now let’s see what they’ll do with the dough.

Tags: , ,

i

June 25, 2008

WordPress Wednesday News: Your Own Song in the Plugin Competition, WordPress 2.6 Beta and First Looks, WordCamp UK New Location, Batcache, Naked Themes, and More

Want your own song? Win the Weblog Tools Collection WordPress Plugin Competition! WordPress 2.6 Beta released for testing. First looks at the new features coming in WordPress 2.6. WordCamp UK changes locations. Batcache strikes. Plugin menus on the Administration Panels discussed. Is your WordPress Theme naked without a print stylesheet? We’ve got WordPress tips, WordPress news, and more WordPress than ever!

WordPress News

WordPress 2.6 Beta Released: For the WordPress beta testers,
Ryan Boren announced the release of WordPress 2.6 Beta 1
for testing. The release is slated for July 7 with a July 14 possibility, depending upon how testing and fixes go, which is a month earlier than has been reported. I’ve reported on many of the new features in past on the . Here are some of the first reports coming in:

  • Shoemoney likes Post Revision, the new feature that allows you to compare the same post in multiple windows, excellent for Internet glitches and multiple authors.
  • Dougal Campbell is also jazzed about Post Revisions and Google Gears support, and describes some of the other new features in greater detail including support for the XML-RPC and Atom client APIs being turned off by default for security protection, improved SSL access to Administration Panels, a new version of the “Press This” (formerly Press-It) bookmarklet, avatar options, improved WordPress Plugin management, and more.
  • Blog Security explores the security improvements in WordPress 2.6 and reports that a number of XMLRPC features will be deactivated by default, adding more protection, along with improved password and cookie security improvements in past versions. They say it’s on the right track for strong security standards.
  • Peter Westwood is excited about the improvements in the security of WordPress 2.6 including support for SSL and disabling remote publishing protocols by default.
  • Lester Chan, popular WordPress Plugin author, is excited about the new features including the new link in the top menu called “Speed Up” which connects with Google Gears, the new Dashboard Panel feature “Right Now” which gives a breakdown of your blog’s activity in the moment, the new Word Count feature, and Theme Previews. However, with the some recent changes in WordPress versions which impact WordPress Plugins, Chan is debating whether or not to maintain WordPress 2.5 compatibility for the next wave of WordPress Plugins, especially those impacted by the new features that allow wp-config.php to move up one level from the WordPress root and allowing the wp-content directory to be in a custom location.
  • Many are reporting their excitement about the new WordPress Auto-Upgrade feature which will make upgrading WordPress easier.

WordPress Plugin Competition: Weblog Tools Collections announces that Kym Huynh, a songwriter, has just donated a new prize to the growing collection, a song written for the winning recipient and professionally recorded. The Weblog Tools Collection’s WordPress Plugin Competition for WordPress 2.5+ continues to grow with new prizes and Plugins. Here are the Plugin entries listed on the Plugin Competition Blog so far:
read more

Tags:

i

More Web Services and WordPress Plugins Worth Checking Out

FeedCompare: Lets you do an Alexa-style compare of several blogs’ feed subscriber numbers as reported by FeedBurner. Just type the names of several blogs and you’ll get a pretty graph with lines in different colors laid over each other.

read more

Tags: ,

i

Daniel Jalkut Bashes WordPress 2.6 XMLRPC Decision

Daniel Jalkut is the creator current developer and owner of Mac blog application MarsEdit (a great one, by the way), so it should come as no surprise that he’s a bit pissed about the fact that XMLRPC will be disabled by default in WordPress 2.6. For those who doesn’t know, XMLRPC is the way outside applications can communicate with WordPress.

Naturally, disabling XMLRPC in WordPress 2.6 isn’t done in a swipe at outside applications, there is a reason of course.

read more

Tags:

i